In our discussion about COVID-19, we’ve reviewed phase one guidelines and specific steps to take in reopening your firm. One of these is whether to screen employees before returning to work. Sounds reasonable, but how exactly should you go about it? Today we take a look.
Thermal Imaging Cameras, Digital Thermometers, and Self Evaluations
Feever is an artificial intelligence (AI) based, non-contact thermal imaging technology that detects individuals in a crowd with an elevated temperature. Utilizing a thermal imaging camera and the AI based mobile app, Feevr automatically alerts users when a scanned person’s temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold, allowing for immediate intervention. At a price point of $3250 it isn’t cheap and probably better suited to venues that need to easily screen large groups of patrons. Nevertheless, if this solution sounds appealing, do your research. At least one group has severely criticized Feev’rs accuracy.
Feevr PreCheck is a more economical “sister” product of Feevr, priced at $299.99. The app lets employees take a temperature reading at home – a far more appealing approach for everyone.
With PreCheck employers would give each worker a digital thermometer connected to a smartphone. Readings would be relayed automatically to the firm through the app. Anyone with an elevated temperature would be instructed to stay home.
Everbridge uses a different approach, based in crisis management communication. Their app allows employers to blast messages out to all employees, one of which includes a COVID-19 self-evaluation. Workers are asked if they have symptoms or if they’ve already had the disease and recovered. They can tap the answers into a smartphone, and the employer can use the results to decide who comes into work and who stays at home. Everbridge calls this “IT alerting,” with licenses costing between $32 and $50 per month.
ProtectWell is a free app developed by Microsoft and UnitedHealth. Like Everbridge, it uses a COVID-19 self evaluation. Here’s how it works:
Employees are invited to download the ProtectWell app.
Before starting work, employees use the symptom screener to answer a few quick questions.
Employees are instantly notified if they are ready to work, need to stay home and manage symptoms or get tested (where available).
To learn more, consider watching the ProtectWell demo (two minutes you won’t regret). Have questions? ProtectWell promises a next business day turnaround on their contact submission page. They also offer free return to work guidelines that are worth checking out. On the contact page, under “How can we help?” select “I would like a free copy of Return to Work Guidelines.”
Six More Apps to Screen Employee Health
Visit the Human Resource Director blog to read about six more apps to screen employee health.
You’re the lawyers. If you’re not sure what you can or cannot do, get advice. Oregon’s employment law bloggers have been busy, as a Google search reveals. You can also chat directly with a colleague. (Ask friends for referrals if you don’t already know someone with the right expertise.) Government websites are also your friend:
- Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI)
- Oregon Occupational Safety & Health (Oregon OSHA) offer resources for employers, primarily centering around benefits, sick time, etc.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
What Should I Do Next?
Using a symptom-checker or self evaluation app is a no-brainer. I can’t imagine why firms wouldn’t use ProtectWell at a minimum. Asking employees to self evaluate for a series of symptoms is more accurate than relying exclusively on the presence of fever.
Whatever you do, stay safe.
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