Walk-Through Temperature Screening For Employers

Temperature Screening At Workplace

One of the primary symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is an elevated body temperature of above 38˚C (100.4˚F). Some workplaces have started screening their employees using touch-less temperature scanners in order to determine whether they may enter the employer’s workplace.

Temperature testing is non-invasive, produces objective and instant results, and tests for one of the primary symptoms of COVID-19. Accordingly, an employer’s decision to implement temperature screening may be a reasonable method for mitigating the risk of an outbreak within a workplace.

Human temperature tester is vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure and could be a liability for the employer. They must be provided with personal protective equipment, including surgical gloves, face masks, and a lab coat or disposable coat. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be accessible in areas where testing is conducted.

Temperature Screening In Mass

Our solution is just like a walk-through metal detector but it senses the temperature of an individual instead of metals. Infra-red sensors are embedded into the metal detector frame and sense the temperature of an individual instead of metals.

This prevents the exposure of a human being to COVID-19 and decreases the cost of hiring a human being to perform the temperature sensing.

Employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace for employees. Thermal testing and screening questions are reasonable methods to protect a workplace from a potential outbreak of COVID-19. So long as employees consent to being tested, the test results are not recorded, and the tests are conducted safely and respectfully, any potential privacy concerns are, in our view, minimal and justifiable.

Our system will ask employees via an iPad whether they consent to have their temperatures tested, whether the employee is exhibiting any flu-like symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, fever) or is otherwise feeling unwell, whether the employee has had close contact with someone in the past 14 days who has been diagnosed with, or is presumed to have, COVID-19. If an employee refuses to be tested, he or she will not be admitted to the workplace, on the basis that their attendance could jeopardize the health and safety of others.

Employees with temperatures at or above 38˚C (100.4˚F), or who answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, will be advised to return home, self-isolate, and call their regular doctor.

Test results will not be collected, recorded, stored, used or disclosed for any purpose aside from determining whether the employee should be permitted to enter the workplace. The additional privacy best practices, identified above, will be followed.

Privacy Laws With Thermal Testing

Employee privacy in private sector organizations other than those that qualify as “federal works” is governed by privacy laws in three provinces: Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. There is no private sector privacy legislation applicable to such employees in the other seven provinces.

As such, there are no clear statutory privacy-related concerns with respect to implementing and conducting thermal testing in seven Canadian provinces, including Ontario. Even so, as a best practice, and in order to avoid any potential privacy violations at common law, the information obtained through temperature screening should not be collected, recorded, stored, used or disclosed for any purpose aside from determining whether the employee should be permitted to enter the workplace. Further, as a best practice, any personal information collected should be anonymized prior to recording, if the recording is even required. Any personal information collected should also be safeguarded against unauthorized use or disclosure.

In British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec, privacy laws could potentially be implicated in an employer’s choice to conduct temperature screening. However, temperature screening is likely acceptable even in these jurisdictions, so long as employees consent to having their temperature checked, the information collected is limited as much as possible to fulfill the purpose of testing, and test records are not collected, stored, used or disclosed for any purpose outside of the screening context.

The provincial Privacy Commissioners have not yet provided any guidance with respect to thermal testing by employers in the face of a global pandemic. While the Privacy Commissioners have stated that privacy laws continue to apply in these circumstances, they have also made it a point of stating that such laws are not meant to be applied as barriers during the course of public health emergencies. Simply put, privacy laws should not stand in the way of an employer taking reasonable precautions to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

Human Rights Considerations

The position of the Ontario Human Rights Commission is that medical assessments (including temperature screening) to verify or determine an employee’s fitness to perform on the job duties may be permissible in these circumstances under the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, information on medical tests may have an adverse impact on employees with other disabilities. As such, employers are advised to only obtain information from medical testing that is reasonably necessary to the employee’s fitness to perform on the job and any restrictions that may limit this ability, while excluding information that may identify a disability. Generally speaking, a simple temperature scan performed in accordance with the above-noted recommendations should not give rise to any human rights related concerns.

Contact Us

Dr. Kalyan Kalwa

kalyan.kalwa@healthinno.org

437.235.9260

1865 Leslie St, North York, ON M3B 2M3