Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it is reported that the demand for fever detection products has skyrocketed. The specialised thermal cameras quickly scan people without the need for skin contact, in order to test their temperature. A high temperature is one of the main symptoms of Covid-19.
Thermal screening cameras can be increasingly seen in public places such as airports, gyms and offices. They use infrared technology to detect heat radiating from the body to estimate core body temperature. They are not medical devices, so if a person with a high temperature (38C or over) is identified, then a thermometer check is also needed.
If you are an employer looking into ways to make your workplace Covid-19 secure, then temperature screening devices are an extremely useful tool. They can help detect an infected employee as they enter the building, without the need for a more time-consuming check with a handheld device, which must be operated at a distance of 2 metres.
Temperature screening is not a foolproof method for detecting coronavirus, as some people may still be infected without having a fever. Other common symptoms include continuous coughing, headache, fatigue and loss of taste and smell. However, thermal scanning will still be able to flag up potential cases, which can then be medically assessed.
Thermal camera technology first came into widespread use in Asia, when the SARS virus began to spread in 2003. Recently, there has been a surge in demand which has led to some manufacturers prioritising supply to medical centres. Fever cameras are now widely used in factories which employ large numbers of staff working in close proximity.
In the UK, employment law states that individuals must agree before an employer can take their temperature. Some contracts will have pre-agreed policies by ‘implied consent’. If there is no existing policy, and the employee does not consent to a temperature check, then it is unlawful to carry one out.