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Human temperature screening solutions should not be deployed for mass surveillance because the environment is typically not controlled based on consistent facial visibility of individuals, among other factors.

9.15.20 – SSI –  Rich Mellott 

Body temperature screening systems are critical to prepare for our new normal. Understand they do come with various requirements and compliance concerns.

The world is evolving, and technology is changing with it. Innovations are popping up every day, and technologies that have been around for years are now considered a must-have. One in particular that falls into this category is human temperature screening (HTS).

HTS and thermal cameras are critical to prepare for our new normal moving forward. However, these solutions do come with various requirements and compliance concerns that executives may fail to consider. You must ask and evaluate how HTS fits into a broader company safety policy and security system integration strategy.

The most effective way to answer these questions is to consider all aspects of the solution and effects on your end customer’s security program, from policies and processes to privacy, compliance, environment and communication. Here are insights to help you navigate the use of HTS within a business application:

Solution Accuracy

HTS can be incredibly effective as part of a broader security strategy. However, the environment and implementation standards play a considerable role in the accuracy of a reading. For example, these solutions should not be deployed for mass surveillance because the environment is typically not controlled based on consistent facial visibility of individuals, standard read range areas, distance to subjects, concentricity of people in the scene, occlusion of subjects, throughput rates and more, depending on the solution.

For greater accuracy, set up a defined area to conduct temperature readings using a pause-and-scan method for one person at a time. Many HTS solutions include a blackbody reference source (recommended by FDA and ISO standards), which is a calibrated temperature source that presents a precise temperature reference to that of the human body. The blackbody creates a baseline for the camera’s reading, and while it’s more accurate, it does require a specific setup and continual maintenance.

An alternative to a blackbody reference is a solution that uses an average temperature reference based on known subjects with a healthy temperature reading. This is promoted by specific manufacturers as a reduction of failure point and a means to adjust to changes in the environment and subjects. However, neither solution should be deployed without period checks and management by local staff.

When deploying an HTS thermographic camera, be sure to consider:

  • Time for the camera to stabilize to the ambient environment
  • Distance between the camera and the subject is key for consistent, accurate readings
  • The calibrated position of the blackbody must stay consistent and visible during subject scans
  • If using a tripod, be sure they are not bumped or moved because it will require re-calibration
  • Ensure the camera is positioned at a height that allows proper field of view for scanning of subject with varied heights

Integrate With a Broader Security Strategy

Any new security device must be integrated into a current overarching security strategy, and HTS solutions are no exception. There must be concrete policies and procedures to guide their use.

Consider these tips for integrating HTS solutions into an end customer’s plan:

  • Define a workflow that considers each specific use case for the individual and business action
  • Incorporate CDC screening questions to capture those that are asymptomatic
  • Build a protocol for any individuals who test above the threshold or those who need a second screening measure
  • Clearly define screening processes via signage and messaging
  • Don’t forget about high-risk times of the year and be prepared to adjust protocols to accommodate
  • Consider implementing an additional screening device within access control or visitor management systems for another layer of protection

A major misconception with this technology is that it’s built to detect COVID-19, which is not the case. These devices cannot address surface spread or asymptomatic individuals, and higher skin temperatures may or may not accurately indicate an illness. Instead, these devices are meant to be part of a broader security strategy that helps mitigate risks. These devices are not a short-term fix but rather a long-term solution in driving organizational change within our new norm.

Keep Compliance Top of Mind

Some of you may know HTS solutions come with specific compliance considerations. Luckily, you can follow certain best practices to keep these top of mind and on track. However, you must have a detailed knowledge of the guidelines, specific standards, privacy consideration and regulatory bodies when implementing HTS solutions.

Here are essential facts to keep on hand and discuss with end customers:

  • Establish an in-depth knowledge of ISO/TR 13154:2017 as a guide when deploying HTS solutions
  • Remember to consult legal before deploying these solutions to ensure potential liabilities can be mitigated
  • Regularly review and follow CDC guidelines to stay up to date with their latest information
  • Be aware of the impacts of EEOC, ADA, HIPAA and FDA regulatory requirements that could affect the way HTS solutions are deployed

Ongoing Maintenance

Just like any other device or system, HTS solutions must undergo periodic maintenance. Create policies to ensure regular accuracy checks and re-calibration measures. Also prepare for the impact of weather, temperature changes, environment changes or any alignment issues that may be encountered. Ensure designated operators are adequately trained and understand the solution’s ins and outs and how to identify and correct potential issues.

What we all thought the future would look like has changed significantly. For the security landscape in particular, new solutions will matter to companies and people, and others will receive a facelift to take on new challenges and threats. Everything from HTS to contact tracing and access control will be a top priority and critical to the ongoing battle against mitigating current and future risks.

Now that we have experienced a pandemic of global proportions, we see how this has impacted our lives, society and our economy. This will set the tone for our new norm in business as we put into practice safeguards to reduce this same risk to our business in the future. It has been somewhat overwhelming to navigate this new normal and ensure safety, while also considering compliance. However, security integration partners are here to help as we are all in this together. Remember to take a consultative approach to best practices with peers, leaders and partners to navigate the road ahead with confidence.