The appearance of COVID-19 has forced many workers across Britain to cease going into work and remain at home as part of the social distancing measures put in place to contain the spread of the disease. However, as the lockdown begins to ease and firms begin to reopen, the question has been asked regarding exactly how employers can expect to keep their workers safe once they return to their posts. Nowhere is this question more relevant than in offices, where a combination of an indoor environment and often crowded workspaces can present the perfect recipe for the transmission of airborne diseases. Thus, the most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease is to stop infected employees from entering the premises. However, given the relatively unnoticeable symptoms that COVID-infected individuals exhibit for the first few days of infection, they may be hard to spot. This is where temperature monitoring comes in, providing a straightforward way to catch one of the earliest coronavirus symptoms and alert employees to the possibility that they may be infected, protecting their colleagues.
What Is Body Temperature Monitoring?
Body temperature monitoring is the practice of electronically scanning individuals using special thermal cameras in real time. The video can be viewed by staff either locally or remotely via a workstation. When somebody with an elevated temperature is detected, the camera and workstation can sound an alert to highlight that the temperature threshold has been breached. Should the employee fail a second test with a handheld thermometer, a manager can make the decision to send the person home. The cameras can be set up covering the main entrance to an office or individual departments. The scanning itself is done passively and quickly, causing minimal disruption to the everyday operations within the office.
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Challenges Posed By Offices
Like many other workplace environments, offices have some challenges that have to be taken into account when trying to set up an effective quarantine procedure. Enclosed spaces with limited pathways to navigate around the building mean that people will often find themselves in close proximity to each other, whilst entrances are shared by potentially hundreds or thousands of staff members within a short space of time at the start and end of the working day. Indoor break and social areas also present a problem for maintaining a degree of separation, as does the fact that a company may potentially be sharing the building with other firms who are not following sufficient quarantine procedures. Visitors like contractors and delivery people may be arriving frequently, creating a further vector of infection. Additionally, the virus can spread rapidly once within a given population, meaning that even a couple of sick employees can have a large impact on a large organisation if they are left to roam around the premises. This makes it imperative to have the right measures in place to minimise any risk to staff.
Body temperature monitoring equipment comes in several forms. The first are smaller handheld scanners that must be used at close range and can take anywhere up to 1 minute to take a person’s temperature. The second kind (discussed above) are cameras that examine each person as they cross through their field of vision. The cameras can either be wall-mounted or attached to a tripod for ease of deployment and can check people very quickly as they filter past. The workstation shows the video feed and can be connected locally or in a separate part of the building using the structure cabling but without connecting directly to the network.
The third type comes in the form of a smaller camera with a terminal. This can come mounted on a stand or separately so that it can be used in combination with an entry point e.g. a door to an office or a turnstile. These terminal units can be moved around the premises as needed and are really easy to operate with the measurements appearing on a screen. It’s also possible to link these units to a 4G modem so an alarm message can also be communicated to a senior member of staff.
Whilst temperature scanning is a very powerful tool, it needs to be utilised properly in order to get the best value out of it. This mainly comes down to properly positioning the devices. The most obvious method would be to set up a camera at a main entrance so that workers can immediately get tested as they arrive to work and before they encounter people. Different departments can have scanner stands placed in their offices to scan people as they come and go throughout the day, as the same chokepoints that heighten risk can provide a simple way to make sure every employee is scanned regularly.
The scanners also enable receptionists to keep their distance from visitors until they are confirmed to not be visibly sick. If combined with a sensible distancing methodology and mask-wearing program, then body temperature monitoring can eliminate many of the ways that the virus can reach office workers.
ANT provide a range of temperature monitoring technologies that are specifically geared towards protecting personnel from infection. Years of experience in the health and safety field have led to a solution that is easy to install, configure and operate. Furthermore, this ease of use means minimal disruption is caused to routines and procedures throughout the day due to the cameras passive nature. Employees can therefore concentrate on getting back to work whilst the temperature monitoring devices keep guard.
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