Back in Business: How to Screen for Elevated Skin Temperature in the Workplace
Building a First Line of Defense with Thermal Imaging Cameras
Elevated skin temperature screening with a thermal imaging can help offices, businesses, factories, and other operations avoid work and production interruptions due to COVID-19. By screening each person for elevated skin temperature before they enter a building, you can determine who needs a medical check for fever, which can be a sign of infection. It’s an easy and efficient way help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Options for High-Traffic Areas
Protective measures such as disinfecting equipment, requiring six feet of distance between people, or any of the other recommendations for reducing risk are important for minimizing the spread of disease. Unfortunately, none of these measures can prevent a sick person from entering a shop or building. What’s needed is a fast method of screening workers or customers for signs of a fever – one of the known symptoms of infection.
While the most comprehensive solution for checking for elevated temperature is to use medical device like a thermometer, there are several disadvantages: individual temperature checks with a thermometer require time, proximity, personnel to operate the device, and protective gear to keep workers and customers safe.
Bringing Thermal into Your Workplace
How would you incorporate this kind of imaging in your frontline screening plan? While any plan will need to be specific to your building and work conditions, many businesses have set up a FLIR thermal camera on a tripod at the entryway to screen people as they come in. As employees or customers enter the building, they simply stop briefly at a marked point in front of the camera for a quick screening.
Anyone monitoring the thermal image won’t be able discern the person’s features or tell who it is, protecting their privacy. But they will be able to measure apparent skin temperature and see it displayed on screen. If the person’s skin temperature appears normal, they can proceed past the check station while the next person is screened.
Many FLIR thermal camera models include FLIR Screen-ESTTM Mode, a built-in temperature screening that makes this process even easier. First, this mode can help you find the average skin temperature for people moving through your location. This is important because ambient factors such as air conditioning, outside temperatures, and even time of day can affect body temperature. Based on this average, you can then see who appears to have a higher skin temperature. You can even set an audio or color alarm on the camera that will go off when the camera detects an above average temperature. From there, you will know who to check for a fever using a thermometer or other medical device.
In addition to on-camera screening mode, FLIR offers a desktop software that works in conjunction with the thermal camera further enhancing the screening process. FLIR Screen-ESTTM Desktop Software has features like auto face detection and auto average sampling. Cameras are connected to the software by standard cabling or wireless.
Thermal Cameras Can’t Detect Fever or Illness
FLIR is registered with the US FDA to provide a variety of its thermal products to screen for elevated skin temperatures in connection with additional screening tools. However, it’s important to understand that no thermal camera can diagnose illness or see a virus. They also should not be relied upon to determine if someone has a fever. What thermal cameras can do is tell you whether the person being screened is displaying an above-normal skin temperature. That means you can screen a lot of individuals quickly and only pull aside those who appear to have a high skin temperature for secondary checks with a medical device.
FLIR has many resources to help you better understand thermal imaging for elevated skin temperature screening, including camera recommendations, tips for using Screening mode, and an FAQ page.