One of the most important elements of a successful back to work program is detection. At the door, on the floor, and between shifts, there needs to be a system in place to detect potential COVID-19 systems and react as quickly as possible to identify who might have been exposed. 

Entry procedures are a huge part of this, with thermometers and contactless temperature readers playing an important role in employee arrival procedures every day. When someone enters the building every day to start their shift, they should self report their current health status, any potential symptoms or exposures, and have their temperature taken. But what kind of temperature readers are best – both for accuracy and for the expedience of getting everyone in the door? Let’s take a closer look. 

Non-Contact Temperature Assessment

The FDA describes a non-contact temperature assessment device as one that uses thermal imaging cameras, infrared telethermographic systems, or non-contact infrared thermometer technology to capture temperature from the surface of the human body, most often the forehead. 

These devices are recommended because the use of oral thermometers or ancillary thermometers that require an opening of the mouth or contact with the body increases the risk of transmission. The benefits of such a system are numerous, including:

  • They require minimal or no cleaning between uses because they do not come in contact with the individual. 
  • They can be used with a facemask in place, limiting the risk of spread if there is an illness. 
  • They are very quick, reducing the amount of time it takes to read temperatures for a large group of people. 

There are some limitations to such a system, however. To start, a fever does not guarantee an indication of COVID-19. It is a preliminary system that appears in approximately 60% of cases (many of the rest of which are asymptomatic). But by catching a fever before someone enters the building, you can remove them from the worker pool until they are able to obtain a test, ensuring that they don’t spread COVID-19 if they are sick. 

Choosing the Right Non-Contact Temperature Reader

When purchasing temperature readers, there are several options – including hand-held thermometers and completely hands-free devices. The most important thing is to ensure that the device you select has been FDA-approved and that it is rated to test adults for fever.

For hand-held devices, there are some additional considerations you’ll need to take into account, including:

  • Training – These devices require that they are placed approximately 4-6 inches away from the forehead and pointed at a specific point above and between the eyes. The wrong location can lead to an incorrect reading. 
  • Time Required – For large cohorts, such as in a manufacturing plant or a school, it can take a fair bit of time for a human to manually log temperatures with a handheld device. This can slow the start of the day, and require dedicated hours from a member of the staff for taking those readings. 

For this reason, hands-free devices have started to appear in many workplaces, streamlining the process, and using AI technology to ensure each person is lined up correctly when the reading is taken. 

These devices help to automate much of the process, resulting in:

  • A 2-3 foot reading range that keeps individuals from touching the device. 
  • A forward-facing camera that can show users instructions and the results of their reading. 
  • The standard accuracy of +-0.3C for temperature readings
  • Integration options with existing systems like NFC cards and automated doors

The benefit of such a system is that it removes the human component from taking these readings, reducing the risk of inaccuracies, and automating the entry process to increase overall efficiency. 

So which is right for your use case? It actually depends on several factors. For those who need to remain mobile and flexible, a handheld device might make more sense. For example, when boarding personnel transportation or when checking people without leaving their vehicles such as for school drop-offs, these are preferred devices. However, for static site entry locations, automated temperature readers are better for asynchronous and constant arrival of larger crowds. 

Choosing the Right Temperature Reader for Your Workplace 

Every workplace that reopens during COVID-19 should have a system in place to capture and record employee temperatures at the start of the day. If someone has a fever, they should be redirected to call their doctor or obtain a test kit at the office, with the requirement that they produce a negative test before returning. 

In addition to the vital safety elements of the process, it’s important that the process is as efficient as possible. That means automated temperature readings without the requirement of a human operator, integration with existing automated systems, and the ability to automatically record readings and store them for future reference, as well as integration with contact tracing software. 

Our Safely Pass Automatic Temperature Monitors are designed to do just this, all while producing ROI in just two weeks by reducing the time and hours required to scan employees every morning. Learn more about our automated monitors on the Safely Pass store, or download our Safely Pass Back to Work Safely Playbook to learn more about setting up a safe and effective return to work procedure for your employees.

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