OLATHE, Kan. — It’s becoming more common to walk into a business with someone waiting at the front door holding a thermometer.
Employers and establishments are doing this to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A Lenexa company has spent recent weeks working with vendors to install more than a dozen hands-free thermal imaging body temperature camera systems in places all over the country.
Kristi Holland works for Faith Technologies. She described the metro company as “a technology and electrical solutions provider. We work with our clients to address their specific needs.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the need has shifted into a demand for thermal imaging systems that can take an employee’s temperature upon entering the workplace.
“Thermal imaging is basically our way of protecting our employees and our customers,” Holland said.
“You stand within the calibration of the unit, and it takes your temperature. It will read it depending on how you have programmed it, what your temperature is. If it’s elevated over a certain degree, or if you’re in the clear, you can proceed into the building.”
Faith Technologies has a system installed at Excellerate in Olathe, which is the manufacturing arm of the company. Workers stuck around after shift change Tuesday to show FOX4 how the system works.
A handful of employees walk through, socially distanced, with a few seconds in between each measurement. The video image of a person is shown on a monitor, where a green box pops up around the person’s head.
His or her temperature is show in numeric form above the box; Holland said the accuracy is within half a degree.
If a person’s body temperature is elevated, however, the system will alert, depending on how the system is calibrated.
“It could be something discreet, or it could be something like a blinking light, ‘You need to step out of the facility,'” Holland said.
“A lot of companies are choosing to be more discreet and following the CDC guidelines of stepping back out of the facility, making sure that you’re maintaining that six feet of social distancing.”
She said there is also an alert or email that goes to a supervisor or member of management.
“There is a push notification coming out where it will identify the employee, identify their temperature, and their supervisor know that they had an elevated temperature,” Holland said.
According to the National Law Review, it’s important for people to realize the method isn’t foolproof.
Just because someone has a fever doesn’t mean they have COVID-19, and someone may have the virus without showing signs of elevated body temperature.
The NLR also cited both the EEOC and the CDC when explaining that employee temperature checks are normally illegal, but rules are different in a crisis.
Holland said Faith Technologies hasn’t had any complaints.
“They actually appreciate the fact that we’re taking steps to protect them,” she said. “They feel a lot more comfortable in their work environment, knowing that there’s an added layer of protection.”
She said the demand for this technology solutions is coming from “industries that are high traffic industries: manufacturing companies, food processing, hospitals. They look for this type of application to help them and what their new normal is going to look like for getting back to business because that’s important for the economy.”