In the fight against coronavirus, conducting daily temperature checks on employees before they commence work seems like a good idea. But is it worth the time and money? And does it work?
Recent media reports have focused on the growing number of businesses conducting temperature checks on employees as a preventative measure in managing a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace. While checks have value where workers live together in accommodation (such as FIFO or agricultural workers) or in workplaces where vulnerable people are present, such as hospitals and aged care facilities, it’s our opinion that for many workplaces, there may be little benefit in conducting daily temperature checks on workers or visitors. Why? Three primary reasons:
Rather than relying on temperature checks, Safe Work Australia recommends employers implement known controls, such as good hygiene measures, physical distancing (keeping everyone at the workplace at least 1.5 metres physically apart), effective workplace cleaning and fit for purpose personal protective equipment (PPE). You should also direct workers to tell you if they are feeling unwell, including if they have a fever, and promote a standard procedure to require them to go home when they do.
Should you elect to conduct temperature checks on staff:
When considering employee suggestions on conducting temperature checks and managing coronavirus in the workplace, keep in mind that many are uncertain and often emotional about the topic. With the amount of media coverage on the outbreak, many people are misguided or even misinformed so your employees’ concerns are understandable in the current environment. Most people are fine if their suggestions are not taken up, as long as they feel they have been heard and a logical response from their employer is offered.
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