Tuesday, 11 August 2020 08:15

Temperature sensing becoming the ‘new normal’ in Australian workplaces

By Jeremy Ducklin, Congress Rental
Jeremy Ducklin, Managing Director, Congress Rental Jeremy Ducklin, Managing Director, Congress Rental

GUEST OPINION by Jeremy Ducklin, Managing Director, Congress Rental:  As businesses struggle to operate amid Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions, many are turning to temperature sensing technology to reduce health risks for both staff and clients.

The strategy is beneficial because a raised temperature is one of the key symptoms of a viral infection. According to the World Health Organisation, 88 per cent of people who have contracted COVID-19 will have a spike in temperature.

Monitoring offices

In office facilities, a popular approach is to deploy infrared temperature sensing cameras at entry points. These devices can scan people as they walk by and sound an alarm if a higher-than-normal reading is detected.

The devices capture and measure the infrared energy emitted by the human body. The camera then converts this data into an electronic image which is displayed on an attached computer screen.

The benefit of such cameras over conventional, hand-held measuring devices is that people do not have to be stopped for their reading to be taken. The cameras can also take readings of dozens of people a minute, making them practical for monitoring the entries of even large office buildings.

Retail spaces

Retailers are also embracing temperature sensing cameras. Mall operators in particular are keen to find ways to minimise the risk of infection for staff and customers while also allowing stores to remain open for trading.

Cameras mounted at mall entry points can monitor flows of people entering the facility while causing little if any delays in their movement. If anyone does register a high reading, they can be quickly approached by staff and asked to return home.

As well as helping to maintain good public health, such a move by mall operators also helps to reduce the potential for reputational damage. Being a location that is later revealed to be where a new viral cluster first began could have a significant and long-term impact on shopper loyalty and patronage.

Events and conferences

While businesses involved in the staging of events and conferences currently have very little work, many are preparing for when their industry can once again become active.

Temperature sensing cameras are likely to become a common site at the entry points to conference rooms and exhibition halls. People can pass freely without the need to queue and any exhibiting a high temperature can be readily identified.

There are a range of steps that businesses should take when considering the deployment of temperature measuring equipment. Taking the time to do this now will ensure activity can safely increase once lock-down rules are relaxed.

The steps to take include:

  • Assess entries: The most effective location to install temperature monitoring cameras is at the entry point to an office, mall or other facility. Review all points and determine whether some can be temporarily closed. This will reduce the number of cameras required and also allow security staff to manage any identified cases.
  • Evaluate technology: There are a number of competing temperature monitoring systems on the market, so it is important to select the system that is most appropriate for your particular circumstances. Consider the number of people who will need to be scanned and ensure the selected equipment can readily cope with that level of traffic.
  • Train staff: While the monitoring technology itself can automatically detect high temperatures and sound an alarm, staff still need to be familiar with its operation to ensure it is correctly calibrated and delivers accurate results. Undertake user training before any equipment is deployed.
  • Client communication: It will be important for clients to understand the measures that businesses have put in place and the benefits being delivered. Take steps to explain how the technology works and why it’s important.

The ability of temperature scanning cameras to actively monitor for potential cases of COVID-19 among staff and clients will lead to them becoming a familiar sight in many workplaces. Taking steps to select and deploy the equipment now will result in safer facilities and improved business performance.

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