Welcoming the New Temperature Checkers
Boris Johnson’s announcement of ‘COVID Marshalls’ to enforce his new ‘Rule of Six’ social distancing measure has added another new job type to an already growing list.
Earlier this year a British newspaper report on new job roles created in response to the coronavirus pandemic included contact-tracer (Health Secretary Matt Hancock was reported to be looking at creating 18,000 of these roles), and expert cleaners. Social distancing wardens (sometimes known as queue concierges) and COVID-19 support officers were also among the new job descriptions.
In May in the USA, it was reported that there were around 600 listings for the job description ‘temperature checker’ on the Glassdoor employment site.
Temperature checking can’t diagnose coronavirus or any other disease. However, it can indicate raised skin temperature which can be one of the symptoms of coronavirus.
A recent article in the Pittsburgh Gazette explained how UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Shadyside and Baptist Homes, health and senior living facilities found it necessary to hire temporary or full-time temperature checkers in the current COVID-19 climate. Whilst their staff were happy to assist with screenings, filling this position allowed them to focus and remain productive in their day-to-day work responsibilities.
The UK currently has fewer callouts for this type of work, with vacancies for related positions listed in Kent and in London. However, that may change as the crisis continues, with the World Health Organisation warning of a second wave of the virus likely to hit Europe in the winter.
Given that many temperature checker roles will involve a full-time worker using a hand-held device, the prospect of paying salaries of up to £17,000 a year may not be welcomed by many companies that are tightening their belts due to the effects of the outbreak.
Technology may be coming to the rescue, however. Anthony Kirkham, a sales and channel partner manager for AMETEK Land which manufactures a skin temperature detection unit, says: “Many businesses choose hand-held devices as a low-cost solution because the initial purchase price is appealing. However, the cost of ownership is much greater than automated systems because an operator may need to be hired for the job or existing personnel may be required to give up their time to take the measurement.”
He also points to the very real danger that employees responsible for checking temperatures with hand-held devices themselves risk exposure to the new coronavirus.
But with COVID Marshalls here to stay (for now in the UK at least), it’s clear businesses must do something to protect employees and visitors to their premises.