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Screening Employees for COVID-19

As Florida enters Full Phase One of the plan to reopen businesses, all forms of construction work can resume in the Sunshine State. As part of this reopening plan, construction businesses need to implement a mitigation strategy to stop the spread of the virus. As part of this plan, employees will need to be screened for COVID-19

In this brief article, the Florida OSHA defense attorneys at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants will discuss this screening process. For coronavirus-related legal advice, visit our COVID-19 resources section

The Most Common COVID-19 Symptom

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 83 to 99 percent of individuals with COVID-19 will experience symptoms of a fever. As fever is the most common symptom experienced by infected individuals, construction employers should consider implementing employee screening procedures to reduce the chances of the respiratory disease spreading throughout the jobsite. According to the CDC, a fever for COVID-19 purposes, is any temperature at 100.4°F or above. 

Related: Tampa’s Largest Construction Sites To Be Inspected By Nurses

Taking the Employee’s Temperature

To begin, the only individuals taking the temperatures of patients should be trained and certified in this process. For this reason, it’s best to have a nurse or medical professional located in the workplace; however, you can have a management-level employee conducting this process if they have been properly trained in the process. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that the person taking each employee’s temperature wears:   

  • Gloves
  • Gowns
  • Eye/face protection (e.g., goggles, face shield)
  • NIOSH-certified, disposable N95 filter facepiece respirators or better

The best equipment to use to take an employee’s temperature is a thermal scanner or camera, as it requires no direct contact with the individual. If none are available, the person taking temperatures can use a forehead or temporal artery thermometer or an oral thermometer. If an employee has a temperature at 100.4°F or greater, the person taking their temperature should discreetly notify them of this. The employee will need to self-isolate, so it’s critical that they are not allowed entrance onto the jobsite. Separate the individual from their co-workers and instruct them to go directly home and begin to quarantine. 

Waiting in Line 

When you establish a line to take each employee’s temperature, it’s best to do this outdoors in a covered area. You will need to reduce crowding, so place markings on the ground. It’s best to have multiple lines and to place markings of six feet of space between each waiting spot in line. Ensure that employees are respecting the social distancing requirements and waiting in their designated spot in line. Moreover, site managers should consider staggering shift times to ensure that there are not too many employees showing up at the same time. Construction businesses should also consider extending their hours of operation to reduce the traffic flow on their jobsite. 

For legal advice related to workplace safety or employment law, consult Florida OSHA defense lawyers at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants. 

If you would like to speak with our Florida OSHA defense attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.