Why am I seeing the use of thermal temperature scanners at my workplace?
Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19 that occurs in an individual infected with the virus between 1 to 14 days after infection. Non-contact thermometers have become widely used devices as they ensure a quick, non-invasive way to measure temperature while allowing the individual administering the test to remain a safe distance from the subject. These devices ensure the temperature for large numbers of people can be taken quickly and may prevent COVID-19 positive individuals from unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
What is an infrared thermal temperature scanner?
A thermal temperature scanner or temperature gun is a non-contact infrared thermometer that is used to measure the surface temperature of the body from a distance. They are used in many different settings including industrial settings, restaurants, food retail and healthcare.
Are these devices safe?
Infrared thermal temperature scanners do not pose any risk. As they do not use a laser to measure body temperature, there is no risk of eye damage. It is important that they are used properly and for its intended purpose. It’s also important to note that there are different designs of these products with different intended uses. In this case the devices being used should be one intended for use on humans.
In order to be effective, temperature checks should be done in an environment free of excessive steam or dust. The individual using the device should be trained on its use and the internal sensor should be kept clean before and after its use in order to provide accurate results.
If you believe that your employer is using the incorrect device, you should contact your Joint Health and Safety Committee “Worker” member, your Union Rep or the 1006A Health and Safety Department so they can determine if the appropriate device is being used.
How do infrared thermal temperature scanners work?
Infrared thermometers don’t emit radiation and do not transmit wavelengths into the body. They sense the heat emitted by the body, converting the energy to an electrical signal that can be displayed in units of temperature.
What if the device shows that my temperature is high?
You will be sent home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have any questions about your next steps or want more information, contact your union representative. If you are feeling any symptoms of COVID-19 before going to work, the best practice is to inform your employer before going to work.