Temperature Screening Employees – Give me the FAQs

by | Jul 17, 2020 | businesses, temperature screening

Reopening the economy has caused several changes to the American workforce. Employers across the nation have begun temperature screening their employees and most B2C companies have implemented a mask policy. Naturally, these changes have brought about many questions. 

To ease confusion and prevent false information from circulating, we thought we’d address some of the Internet’s most frequently asked questions surrounding temperature screening in the workplace.

Is temperature screening required?

Certain states now require employers to conduct temperature screening. As of July 16th, states that mandate temperature checks in at least one industry include:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

These requirements may be subject to change over time. To keep up with the latest temperature screening mandates by state, check out this daily updated list.

Is temperature screening legal and HIPAA compliant?

Yes. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that temperature screening employees is legal. 

HIPAA does not apply here unless you are a covered entity (health plan, health care provider, or health care clearinghouse); however, the results of temperature checks and health questions must remain confidential.

For information on ADA compliance and COVID-related HIPAA requirements for covered entities, Thomson Reuters offers a more in-depth answer.

How do I start screening my employees?

Before you begin implementing your temperature screening policy, it’s important to notify your employees of this change, allowing for employees to voice any concerns ahead of time. We recommend sending out an email or posting a flyer using the following as a template:

“In order to assure the safety of all customers and employees, we will begin temperature screening all persons who enter our facility, starting [insert date]. Screening will occur through a touchless thermometer, and anyone with a temperature over [insert temperature] will be sent home with further instructions.”

Should I appoint specific personnel to take temperatures?

Taking the temperature of each individual employee can eat up a lot of your time. Thankfully, SafeScreen thermographic temperature kiosks can do the job for you. 

Your time is valuable. Sit back, relax, and let SafeScreen scan each person as they walk up. With no oversight necessary, it will send you an alert when someone has a temperature above your chosen maximum. 

If you require masks in your facility, this revolutionary technology can also be programmed to use facial recognition to detect whether or not an employee is wearing a mask.

Do I need anything other than a thermometer?

When using a traditional temperature gun and social distancing is not possible, you will need to supply the person performing the screening with PPE and hand sanitizer.

With SafeScreen, no extra materials are necessary. Simply perform the initial setup and let the magic happen.

Where should this screening take place?

SafeScreen is fully functional both indoors and outdoors. For maximum safety, we recommend conducting this screening outside of your facility where employees can stand six feet apart. This technology can be programmed to open your automatic doors for people who pass their temperature checks and keep them closed for those who do not.

What do I do if an employee refuses a temperature screening?

If your policy is that every employee be screened before starting their shift, you will need to send them home if they refuse to have their temperature taken.

What temperature is considered a fever?

Normal body temperature is not always 98.6°F and can vary anywhere between 97°F and 99°F. Because of this, 98.7°F is not necessarily a fever.

If your jurisdiction instructs you to send employees home who read at a certain temperature, follow their guidance. If not, we recommend defaulting to the CDC-recommended 100.4°F. 

If an employee does present with a fever, they should be sent home for the day (at the very least) and instructed to monitor their symptoms. As an employer, you have the right to require a doctor’s note from said employee before they return to work, should you deem it necessary. 

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