Is A Thermal Scanner Right for Your Business?

Organizations across the country are eager to get back to work and looking for ways to make the workplace safe for their employees. As health screenings gain popularity, so are thermal scanners. Ideally thermal scanners, which measure heat on someone’s skill, would offer a way to check employee and client temperatures without close person to person contact. Some sound alarms if reading a temperature over a certain level or alert a staff member who can quietly address the situation. While these may sound ideal, experts strongly suggest that employers do their research before making safety purchases – and that they choose another direction.

Experts, and many thermal scanner production companies, are strongly advising against the purchase of thermal scanners, particularly for small businesses. While thermal scanners can pick up on elevated skin temperatures, they are not meant for medical purposes and not precise enough to detect a fever or illness. In addition, some say they may lead to unintended violations of employees’ rights. Those individuals with health conditions, heavier body builds, or hot flashes may appear in the scanner as having an elevated body temperature and be sent home unnecessarily, while those individuals with fever could pass through the system entirely undetected.

While some thermal scanner manufacturers suggest scanners can be used as a way to make employees feel safe, most advise against the purchase for medical purposes and experts strongly advise that thermal scanners are a particularly bad move for small businesses. In a situation where keeping your employees and clients safe is essential, these purchases are not helpful and can be deceptive. Even if they were able to detect that an individual has a temperature, medical experts are now saying that this in itself is not a helpful tactic to ensure the safety of employees. As many as 45% of individuals who contract COVID-19 report little to no symptoms but can still spread the disease.

Experts suggest staying away from things like thermal scanners and instead focusing on employee screening, providing personal protection equipment to employees, as well as reinforcing their ability to social distance by providing remote work options and proper social distancing in the office. In addition, revisit your PTO policy and encourage employees to take time off if they’re not feeling well. While we would all prefer an easy solution to stopping the spread of COVID-19, the best bet is to continue social distancing measures and stay vigilant about cleanliness and safety precautions in our workplace.

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