Last week NYS entered Phase 2 for reopening and provided new guidelines for returning to work, including regularly screening your employees and visitors.
One way to perform screening is to monitor for fever and high temperatures. This can pose a significant challenge for an already limited work force and is prone to human. When used properly Thermal or Temperature Sensing Cameras can streamline detection and increase accuracy in the screening process. As manufactures rush to meet the demand some misinformation has arisen. Here are some key points to stay informed and help you determined if Temperature Sensing Cameras are a right for your business.
Not all solutions are the same
Originally developed for military use during the Korean War, thermal cameras have a long history and are used in many fields. Firefighters use the cameras to see through smoke, find people, and localize hotspots of fires. Power line maintenance technicians locate overheating joints and parts to eliminate potential failures. Physiological activities, such as fever can also be monitored with thermographic imaging. Key word, monitored. We’ll come back to that. The point being each of these uses has specific camera requirements and may not be accurate for taking human temperature.
First, when evaluating a Temperature Sensing Camera solution check is that the manufacturer meets both FDA and IEC standards for temperature sensing accuracy.
Second, follow the exact requirements for positioning and configuration of the cameras. As an example, the solution must calibrate every 10 minutes using a “black body” secondary device.
Third, in order to take an accurate reading, the camera must have a clear view of the forehead. This means the person cannot have on a hat, hoodie, or any other type of head coverings.
Fourth, the camera must be installed in an area that can funnel people and cannot be installed anywhere near ventilation or heat.
Fifth, have a “cool down” area designed. If a person triggers and alarm, it may be due to the temperature outdoors. Have them wait for the appropriate period of time and then re-scan.
Sixth, Have and follow your process. It is critical to note that Temperature Sensing Cameras, while very accurate, are not medical devices. If a person triggers and alarm the next step is for them to see a licensed medical professional. Furthermore, your organization needs to communicate your policy and set expectation with your employees if they do have a high temperature.
Thermal cameras were not originally designed to detect fevers. While newer temperature sensing cameras may be accurate in their ability to determine skin temperature, they cannot discern the nuances of why a person may have a higher or lower temperature reading than average. One of the biggest misconceptions about the cameras is them being used as “fever detectors”. Thermal cameras aren’t designed for medical use, nor can a company using a thermal camera tell a person they are sick or have a fever unless they have a proper medical license. Disclaimers such as “cameras are not for medical purposes” and can’t be used “to diagnose the COVID-19” or “find individuals experiencing coronavirus symptoms” are often found near the thermal cameras.
Let’s go back to our key word from earlier, monitored. A common misconception with installing a thermal camera is that it doesn’t need to be monitored by a human being. Wrong. Who is going to stop the person who sets off the camera? How are you going to make sure every single person walking into your building is getting properly read? The thermal camera can only be used as a preliminary screening and needs follow up by a licensed medical professional.
Another important note: If you are a government agency, or you do work for / receive funding from a Government agency, there are restrictions on some manufacturers from Foreign Countries. Hikvision and Dahau are two examples and they also OEM cameras for other manufacturers. Be sure to check with your compliance officer for proper guidance in these situations.
Are there positives to installing and using Temperature Sensing Cameras? Absolutely! Companies need to understand both the pros and the cons when it comes to using these cameras as well as the cost factors associated with them. As more and more solutions hit the market, it’s important to do research and fully understand how these tools can augment existing practices and can help protect your business. For more information, or to schedule a demo, please contact ICS at firstname.lastname@example.org.