As lockdown eases across the UK, thermal imaging cameras are being used in public places to assess the state of people’s health.
With international travel being a huge area of concern many airports, including London City, London Heathrow and Bournemouth are already adopting this new technology. Other airports such as Cornwall Airport Newquay has stated the airport itself will not allow passengers to remain in the building or board an aircraft if they are found to have a temperature of 38°C or higher.
What do the cameras do?
Using radiometric infrared thermal imaging, the camera detects temperature radiating heat from a body. This temperature is usually taken from the forehead of a person and the camera can notice temperature differences as small as 0.05°C. Typically, this kind of software has been used to help police search for out-of-sight suspects.
Similar software has been adopted by artificial intelligence company Chris Butler Associates Ltd (CBA). The cameras used in their DeepThermAI solution can provide peace of mind with high-speed sensitive temperature measurement for high volume or crowded places, such as shopping centres, train stations and workplaces. The software will alert in real-time if a person’s temperature is higher than normal and can identify temperatures of multiple individuals in a line or a crowd, for rapid detection and maintaining customer flow.
“DeepThermAI uses advances in technology to mitigate risk. We would never say that a temperature measuring device is diagnostic, however it does give an accurate reading of temperature which is a guide. That raised temperature could be due to anything at all – how an operator uses the information is something that the operator needs to assess on a risk basis. However, prevention is better than cure, so if there are ways in which technology can help highlight risks, then this is one of them,” Chris Butler, Founder of Chris Butler Associates Ltd.
Using thermal cameras in workplaces
With more and more offices due to open towards the end of the year some business might be looking to deploy this new technology in their places of work.
Going back to the office is a scary thought for some people, after working from home for so long. By having a way to keep employees feel safe and that the right steps are in place could be a great way of encouraging employees back into the workplace.
Thermal screening in offices can be considered part of a package of measures to prevent and control COVID-19 at the workplace. Relying on temperature screening alone will not stop the spread of COVID-19 at work, it has to be a whole company-wide effort.
Employers should adopt “stay at home if unwell” and flexible sick leave policies to discourage workers with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 from coming back to the office and should always follow current government guidelines.
Under UK employment law, individuals must agree before an employer can temperature-screen members of staff. Some work contracts will already allow for this type of test to be carried out. However, if employees do not consent – and there is no pre-agreed policy covering the situation – then taking someone’s temperature is unlawful, says the professional body for HR and people development. Employers must also handle the medical information they gather fairly and transparently – according to the Information Commissioner.
Where else can thermal cameras be used?
Anywhere and everywhere. This type of technology can be deployed in train stations, for example in the same way as they are in airports. Having them by the ticket barriers to warn as people approach could be a great place for them, as they are natural pinch points everyone has to pass through.
Want to find out more about our solution DeepThermAI, speak to one our team today. http://chrisbutlerassociates.co.uk/contact-us/