How to Handle Temperature Checks at Work

How to Handle Temperature Checks at Work

Managing a team and keeping customers happy is a multifaceted job in normal circumstances. When a pandemic hits, this role becomes even more complex. The CDC states that using temperature checks is an optional strategy when trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. However, temperature checks alone may not be completely effective because some employees may not experience a fever or any other symptoms, so social distancing is always the preferred practice.

Depending on whether you choose to conduct temperature checks in the workplace or to ask employees to self-screen at home before coming to work, there are a few different types of thermometer that may be suitable. Learn more about some of these options and where they are most useful.

When to perform temperature checks

Safety protocols vary between businesses, depending on corporate requirements, caseloads, and positivity rates within the region, and the nature of the services provided by businesses. An ever-growing number of businesses now require staff members and shoppers to practice social distancing, wear masks, and have their temperature checked to minimize the spread of virus-containing droplets between people.

Many businesses enforce social distancing recommendations by marking 6-foot spaces at checkout lines and requiring one-way travel in each aisle. Some businesses go one step further to protect their employees and install sneeze guards. Sneeze guards protect cashiers during checkout, which is crucial for employees who are likely to see dozens of customers per day. These are also useful in banks, salons, and other businesses with customer-facing employees.

Many businesses are using temperature checks as a screening method, and there are several types of thermometers that make this easier. Some businesses require all customers to submit to a temperature scan before entering. Those who measure above a preset limit are unable to enter. Consider this option if your business puts people in contact with each other for extensive periods of time, rather than simply passing by each other during quick shopping trips.

Even companies that do not check customers’ temperatures often check employees’ temperatures before they begin working. This prevents employees with viral symptoms from possibly spreading illness to other employees and customers.

The Different Types of Thermometers Available

There are many different types of thermometers available, and different types may be suitable for different situations.

Digital thermometer

Most households have at least one digital thermometer, but this option rarely is found in business settings. It tracks temperature via electronic heat sensors and requires direct contact with the mouth, rectum, or armpit. Because it is not reusable in a business setting, this option typically is not ideal unless the business has access to disposable, single-use covers.

Ear thermometer

Ear thermometers measure temperature via an infrared ray. It is relatively quick, but like other digital options, does require disposable covers if multiple people use it. This option is fairly accurate, but it is less reliable if an individual has a curved ear canal or a buildup of earwax. Because of this, businesses that use this model often keep other types of thermometers on hand for a secondary check.

Non-contact forehead thermometer

One of the most popular options for checking employees’ and customers’ temperatures is the non-contact thermometer. The employee or manager in charge of checking temperatures simply points the scanner at the individual’s forehead, pushes the button, and waits for the tool to report the temperature. Some have additional features, like color-coding to identify low, regular, or high temperatures, and saved readings. Being too close or too far affects the accuracy of the reading, so managers should provide thorough training to employees to ensure proper use.

Taking an individual’s temperature without touching them reduces the risk of viral spread, and the fast-read nature of this tool also saves time in busy retail or business settings. The no-contact feature makes it easy to clean and disinfect this option. However, note that accuracy varies between models and hinges heavily on accurate use.

Automated Temperature Screening

A temperature verification and check in kiosk is an ideal option for the workplace. This type of automatic temperature screening is both touchless and automatic so you don’t have to worry about needing a designated staff member to conduct the checks. All employees need to do is look at the camera and receive an automatic temperature reading in a few seconds. This type of kiosk meets most state and CDC recommended guidelines and uses a medical-grade infrared scanner.

The table below shows a run down of the most commonly used thermometers.

Thermometer Type Usage Examples Pros Cons
Digital Home use Provides fast, accurate readings Only reusable with disposable, single-use covers
Ear Home use Easy to use May not provide accurate readings if not  positioned correctly. Only reusable with disposable, single-use covers
Forehead Home use or when temperature needs to be constantly checked Easy to use May not provide accurate readings
Non-Contact Forehead Home, school, or business use Allows for non-contact temperature measurement
Easy to use
Cannot measure internal temperature
May not provide accurate readings
Businesses may need a designated staff member to conduct the temperature checks
Automated Temperature Kiosk School and business use Allows for touchless, non-contact temperature measurement
Does not need a designated staff member
Uses a medical grade scanner for increased accuracy
Expensive to set up
Takes a little time to teach employees to use

During this unusual time, remember that your community appreciates the extra steps you take to protect employees and customers. Find the health and safety tools you need at Quill.