Hot spots

As quarantine restrictions are slowly being lifted, workplaces are looking to move from reduced capacity operations to fully fledged business as usual. Despite being no stranger to risk assessments and safety protocols, factories and warehouses are having to meet unprecedented compliance standards as they get back up to full operations.

In a 12-month cycle of relentless bad news, the most dreaded headlines broke stories surrounding warehouse Covid breakouts. As crucial pain points in national and global supply chains, factories and warehouses have a responsibility to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

This comes in light of unequivocal reports showing that factories and warehouses have been hotspots for Covid-19 infections. A Health Science Journal study, which looked into workplace Covid-19 breakouts, found that 80 percent of cases belonged to manufacturing and warehouse spaces. In recent news, a major Amazon warehouse in Ontario had to shut up shop owing to a serious outbreak. Clearly, there’s an increased need on the part of facilities to prioritize occupational safety.

Whilst no two companies are run the same way, there are a number of common methods that can be used across facilities to improve hygiene standards across the board. Chief among these is the deployment of temperature screening technology.

The fight against Covid-19 starts with targeting viral symptoms. By doing this, infectious staff members can be separated before they can transmit the virus, which is a key risk in enclosed spaces such as factories and warehouses. The principal symptom of Covid-19 is fever, which manifests in high facial temperatures. WebMD ranks fever as the single biggest indicator of Coronavirus by a large margin (99 percent). It is obvious that workplace hygiene schemes should, therefore, screen for fever before all else.

Thanks to breakthroughs in thermal scanning technology, it is possible to home in on the areas of the face that act as the greatest indicators of fever. Chief among these are the tear ducts – otherwise known as the canthus – which can be captured by modern thermal scanners. With an increased ability to monitor small scale body features, such as canthus temperature, thermal scanning technology can hit a niche indicator of the virus. When dealing with a sizeable labor pool in a constricted area, such as a warehouse, screening out potential infections with accuracy and rapidity is an absolute must.

Plus, with add-ons found on modern temperature screening devices, such technology can support wider protocols. This includes reminding employees to wear masks, tracking numbers of workers at a location and measuring temperatures without human contact. These measures combine to create a truly safe space within an organization’s four walls.

What’s more are the increased capabilities afforded by digital interfaces that can aggregate data on the job. Cleanliness operations can now be given a quantifiable edge by incorporating the data generated by hygiene technology. With the ability to drill down into data and create reports, managers can have available insights for Work Safe or weekly meetings.

Despite encouraging signs of recovery in recent months, factories and similar facilities remain vulnerable, especially given that they generate a great deal of physical contact between workers. And with a vaccine shortfall affecting various areas, factories are at exceptional risk of a viral breakout, owing to the nature of their operations, which 17put them at a disadvantage compared to other sectors.

In the critical re-opening phase, warehouse and factory managers need to protect their businesses against a catastrophic resurgence of Covid-19. One bad breakout, and months of recovery work could go to waste. By remaining vigilant and sustaining occupational safety, with the aid of the right technology, facilities can stand a fighting chance of getting back to normal for good.

Chad Rissanen
Chad Rissanen is Chief Revenue Officer at Tevano, the developer of Health Shield™, an innovative, AI-driven, electronic device that provides instant body temperature scanning and notifies users if they need to wear a face mask. Health Shield™ devices can be placed at all entrances that patrons and/or employees use to gain access to buildings. The Health Shield™ device is supported by a cloud software solution that can be used to manage multiple devices and provide detailed reporting and analysis.