In this article, we will discuss valuable tips for businesses as they reopen – if indeed they are able to reopen considering the uncertainty of the situation at the moment – and how we can better take care of our employees and team.
Let’s start by discussing temperature taking, and the degree to which is feasible and effective. So temperature checks are one way as part of a strategy that is called PDR, which is prevention, detection and response. As part of the detection strategy, to detect and stop it coming into the workplace. It’s not foolproof however fever is a common symptom that patients have that do have symptoms with COVID.
There’s really a couple different options employers have here. One is to have actual hire staff to actually do the through the temperature checks, with no contact infrared thermometers. The other option is to purchase thermographic scanners. However, thermographic scanners are not highly accurate at times, however they’re more cost-effective because they can scan more people and you don’t have to necessarily have a staff person for every person that’s getting a temperature check.
I think there are some scanners that are very reliable however that’s why it’s beyond the scope of this article, to get into the technical details of which temperature screening devices you should choose. You just have to do your homework and make sure that they have some data to support their accuracy. Thermographic scanners are becoming very popular with a lot of larger companies, because you know if you’re scanning thousands of people it could get expensive just having a staff person doing forehead temperature checks for everyone.
It doesn’t makes sense for any any particular organisation or there’s some barriers because of cost there I mean the thermographic scanners are now this there’s not a big barrier to them they may be a couple thousand dollars you can get a decent thermographic scanner for your entry point, which can probably pay for itself in a couple weeks by reducing amount of staff that you have to have to do that kind of thing.
What happens if the employee in question is asymptomatic and doesn’t have a fever however still carries the disease? That’s not going to tell you anything so it’s definitely not foolproof and there’s a significant number of patients with COVID that are asymptomatic. It’s just one one tool and and I’m and a number of tools that you need to potentially use to reduce the chance of an outbreak.
There are no standard protocols we’re kind of in the wild wild west however employers are choosing to do a couple of different things. One is they’re doing asymptomatic testing so they’re basically screening their population, they may just be screening a portion of the population like high-risk folks that are forward-facing with the public or aren’t able to do social distancing, such as those folks that are working in the meat processing facilities. They just may choose to test all their employees when they come to work just to reduce the chance that someone’s going to be coming to work that has COVID.
The issue with that is you got to keep in mind that if you do what’s called PCR testing. Where you’re testing for the infection you are you only have a point in time. So the folks that are doing the testing, choose to take on that responsibility are often doing surveillance testing where they’re testing them again at a later date, or frequently like every couple of weeks.
The most common is where you’re taking a nasal swab and you’re sending it out and that can take two to four days. It doesn’t need to be administered by a health professional, and can be taught to a non physician or it to a non-medical professional. Obviously, it’s best if it is a healthcare professional that’s doing it, rather than have other administrative people that are usually just helping with the paperwork and that sort of thing.
Think about designing the workplace itself to minimize the risk of infection and contagion. You may want to stop different types of massage therapy or employee benefits that are close quarters like that. The contagious nature of the disease means it’s all about health security because this whole pandemic is about health security. We’re concerned about getting sick. It is a proven methodology out of the global public health playbook and involves three principles which I had the acronym as PDR. That means P for prevention of illness, D for detection and then R for responding to the illness.
When you start with P that’s what employers are doing right now, this is developing plans to prevent illness. That’s things like social distancing, rearranging the workspace so that everyone’s at least six feet apart from each other. If they can’t be six feet apart, then they’re putting in plexiglass between the employees. There’s also frequent disinfecting of surfaces because droplets can spread this, if the droplets are on the surface then you touch it and then touch your face.
Those are a couple of a couple of those so disinfecting social distancing and then personal protective equipment. Masks are really going to be probably mandatory when you ‘re going to be going back to work in the near future. We talked about temperature checks and we also talked about PCR testing.
Another detection best method a lot of employers are doing, is daily surveys. These digital surveys are where you get a text in the morning that says you know to fill out the survey before you come to work. Then it’s asking if you have any symptoms or if you’ve been exposed to anyone in the past 14 days, if you travelled internationally.
Eventually, you get a pass on your phone that you have to present when you come through and you walk in the door.
I imagine a number of these measures that we’re talking about today are temporary in nature however some might become permanent even when the pandemic has subsided, or when our employees have been vaccinated. I imagine there will be more aggressive measures to protect employees for some time we don’t until we feel really comfortable that the vaccine is effective and this COVID pandemic is past us.