As American workers get set to return to workplaces across the country, safety measures will be implemented as offices get set to battle with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Things like shared desks could be a way of maintaining daily sanitation, while social distancing measures could spread workers farther apart.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its guidelines for employers and workers heading back to the office recently, where they highlighted several practices that could be seen in the office including transparent shields separating employees and even daily temperature checks.
While stores, gyms, and other places of business weigh daily temperature screenings, it’s worth asking: Will temperature checks actually keep employees safe?
The Associated Press reported that temperature checks won’t make the workplace entirely safe. While they can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections, temperature checks won’t suffice as a sole measure.
“But screening for fevers alone won’t eliminate risk,” the report said. “People with the virus can be contagious without a fever, so it’s still important for employers to increase space between workers, disinfect surfaces and encourage hand washing.”
Devices like no-touch infrared thermometers have been seen in doctor offices lately. While the device is used used by pointing it toward someone’s forehead, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that accurate readings could be hard to come by due to temperature manipulation by someone either wearing a headband or bandana before the screening or applying a wipe to the face.
You’re probably also wondering whether your company can ask for your temperature; the answer is yes, according to human resources expert Johnny C. Taylor.
“While I’m no doctor, I do know employers are obliged to ensure the workplace is reasonably safe,” Taylor, the president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, wrote in a column for USA Today. “Temperature screenings, whether done at work or by employees at home, can be an important precaution to protect workers and the workplace. While it is a departure from normalcy, this measure – like facemasks, hand-washing, and social distancing – is intended to protect the health of both the workforce and the public.”
He added: “My view, however, is we’re all adults. If you wake up feeling sick or exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, coughing, shortness of breath) as described by the CDC, trust your gut and stay home.”