To assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19, employers are granted permission to check their staff’s temperatures. Both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have allowed this especially as many places of work are beginning to reopen.
The question is now how to safely and efficiently carry out these checks while maintaining social distancing and protecting your staff. What are the best practices for taking employee temperatures? This guide aims to answer some FAQs about the rules, safety precautions, and practicalities involved in taking employee temperature checks at work.
If you are seeking help to maintain your work environment during COVID 19, check out HealthySpace.
Why are we carrying out employee temperature checks?
Preventative screenings are the most effective way we can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Some businesses have been operational during the pandemic or have recently begun to reopen. Key workers must be allowed to carry out essential business and temperature checks are a way to minimize the risk to key workers. Depending on the state(s) in which the employer operates, some states are now requiring employers to conduct regular temperature checks on all employees.
Related: How to tell if a person is infected with COVID-19
Who should be taking employees’ temperatures?
If you have a medical professional or a trained nurse on-site, they should be in charge of taking temperatures and training other nominated staff members. Otherwise, employers are permitted for a nonmedical staff member to take the temperatures as long as they’re adequately trained and given the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).
Ideally, one or more management-level members of staff should be designated to carry out employee temperature checks. It’s important that this staff member is adequately trained. Training should include how to respond to false positive/negative readings, effects of ambient temperature, sunlight, and other environmental factors. Credibility is lost when inaccurate data is presented, therefore it’s important to ensure your screeners are educated on the process. The employee who has been designated to carry out the checks should be tested beforehand.
HealthySpace offers various services to help keep your workplace safe.
What equipment do we need to use?
First of all, to take employee temperatures, scanners are ideal. The reason being is because temperatures are taken while avoiding physical contact altogether. Forehead scanners are a perfect example; if possible, use temperature scanners to maintain social distancing as much as you can. No matter what type of thermometer is used, it is essential to have back up thermometers to verify any out-of-range results.
Related: The Effectiveness of Thermometer Guns
If any contact is likely between the tester and the employee, then the use of adequate PPE is necessary. This includes gloves, a face mask, and a protective gown. If the person doing the testing is not using a “touchless” scanner, then they will need to change gloves for each employee they check.
Maintaining the COVID 19 virus at a minimum rate at your workplace can be scary, and learn how HealthySpace can help you.
When should we take their temperatures?
The more appropriate time to take temperatures depends on how your workspace functions, and how many members of staff need to have their temperatures checked. It’s necessary to consider what time of day would be most natural to perform temperature checks with social distancing practices in place.
Companies can choose to take temperatures upon arrival to work, although this could potentially cause problems for privacy issues. The CDC has stated that employees’ temperatures need to be checked before they enter into work.
If it’s easier and more logistical to take temperatures as employees enter your workplace, a rotating shift pattern can be implemented. Staggered shift starts and finishes will avoid the congestion of employees at the entrance.
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How should we take their temperatures?
The greatest way to achieve this is by creating spaces to carry out temperature checks. Create corridors where employees can pass through a checking line. If it’s inevitable that employees will need to wait in line, use tape or appropriate markings to define two-meter spacings so that they can maintain social distancing at all times. Consider whether the temperature checks affect your employees’ working hours, as this issue is likely to be contested.
What constitutes a fever?
According to the CDC, a temperature of over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius. It is, however, recommendable, that you check your state guidelines to confirm this. Individual states have different thresholds for what constitutes a fever for COVID-19 purposes.
What if an employee tests positive?
If any employee has an elevated temperature, they are required to self-isolate for 14 days. The best practices, in this case, are to notify the said employee as discreetly as possible. Unfortunately, they will not be able to enter the premises in this case. From this point, they must begin quarantine for 14 days and monitor other symptoms.
Related: Symptoms of COVID 19
How do we keep a record?
Employers are permitted to keep a record of the temperature checks for safety purposes. It’s recommended to record a necessary “yes” or “no” result at the time, and always confidentially. The EEOC has also confirmed that it is acceptable for employers to ask their staff about any possible COVID-19 symptoms. As well as a fever, these may include chills, a cough, shortness of breath, or a sore throat. If an employee reports any symptoms, these need to be kept in a confidential medical record in compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
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At Healthy Space, we understand that you want to create the safest space for your employees. Our team provides trained medical professionals and equipment to conduct temperature checks and health screening questions. These services are essential for controlling the spread of COVID-19. One employee with COVID-19 can infect numerous other employees in a day. This could threaten having to shut down operations and/or increase workers’ comp cases.
A professional screening service with HealthySpace can take care of your employee temperature checks for you, with no employee training, interruptions in your business, or unknown employee liability concerns.
With HealthySpace, you can reopen your business and keep your employees safe and secure, find out more today.