COVID-19. SECOND WAVE. CAN EMPLOYERS CONDUCT WORK SITE TEMPERATURE CHECKS?
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
YES! if applied in a transparent manner applicable to all employees (i.e., non-retaliatory). Employers may consider implementing strategies to reduce risks to the safety and health of workers and workplaces from COVID-19 that include conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening, questionnaires, self-checks and self-questionnaires). Any such screening should consider ways to maintain confidentiality, as required by local and and national authorities.
Because people infected with SARS-CoV-2 can spread the virus even if they do not have signs or symptoms of infection, temperature screening may play a part in a comprehensive program to monitor worker health during the pandemic, but may have limited utility on its own.
Regardless of whether or how employers ultimately decide to implement temperature checks or other health screening measures, they should act cautiously on results.
Employers should not presume that individuals who do not have a fever or report experiencing other symptoms of COVID-19 do not have SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Employers should continue to implement the basic hygiene, social distancing, workplace controls and flexibilities, and employee training described in this guidance in ways that reflect the risk of community spread of COVID-19, including from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals, in the geographical area where the workplace is located.
As more states begin to open up commercial activities, federal agencies and state and local governments are encouraging and, in some places, requiring employers to develop and implement a comprehensive screening and monitoring strategy for employees aimed at preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into the workplace.
The first step in the prevention of COVID-19 in the workplace lies with the employee. Employees should be required to self-screen, and, if they feel ill and display any of the COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay home. But, in addition to these self-screens taken by employees before even attempting to report to the workplace, we recommend that employers check worker temperatures and oxygen level and conduct symptom screens before entry into the workplace.
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