What to Consider After Investing in Human Temperature Screening Technology
From Security Watch
Given the current unprecedented times we’re living in, it’s no surprise human temperature screening (HTS) and thermal cameras are one of the hottest topics in the security industry. While this technology has been in use for many years, it’s now more critical and applicable than ever before.
However, while useful, these devices come with various compliance considerations, installation requirements and other regulations that leave many leaders wondering how human temperature screening fits into their broader security system integration strategy.
The best way to approach this concern is to examine these systems from a comprehensive perspective, considering the environment, process and policy, ongoing management and privacy and compliance. Here are tips and best practices to navigate this new technology:
Since human temperature screening devices use highly sensitive imaging technology and processes, the environment or application in which they are used can greatly impact their level of accuracy.
ISO standards defined around the use of this technology recommend that thermographic cameras for use in screening for elevated skin temperatures be installed in an indoor, controlled environment.
When these solutions are deployed in applications for mass surveillance screening, they are not as effective because the environment is typically not controlled based on the distance to subjects, visibility of face, forehead and other more accurate read areas.
The more accurate method for higher levels of read accuracy is to use the defined area for scanning and a pause-and-scan method for one person at a time. Below are more specific tips to consider when setting up your human temperature screening solution.
- Lights or heat sources should not be in the device’s field of view as they will skew results. This also includes any HVAC vents or exterior doors, windows and highly reflective surfaces.
- Indoor use is preferred. Outdoor use must be tented to prevent outside variables like excess sunlight, wind, or other elements that will affect the read accuracy.
- Consider adding a backdrop of neutral colors within the field of view but no black walls.
- Keep the environment between 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity below 50%.
- Scan one individual at a time.
- Subjects should remove glasses, hoods or other restrictive coverings over the eyes, forehead and face.
- There are various solutions on the market, and some are very high-resolution imagers that can read further distances. However, it is suggested that approximately 25-30% of the field of view should be focused on the individual’s face for maximum read accuracy.
- Define a separate area for secondary screening of those individuals who presented an elevated temperature and keep in mind avoiding cross-contamination.
Many HTS thermal cameras use what’s called a blackbody reference source. The blackbody setup is a highly calibrated temperature source that presents a precise temperature refers to the human body temperature. This blackbody source creates a temperature baseline for the thermographic camera. While this type of setup is more accurate, it also requires more setup, has an additional point of failure and does often require an annual recalibration of the blackbody device.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when deploying your HTS thermographic camera solution:
● Allow time for the temperature to stabilize after installation into the environment and powerup.
● Ensure proper alignment for highest level of read accuracy.
● Remember that the camera’s lens and camera resolution will determine the distance needed between the subject and thermographic camera.
● Be sure to position the blackbody to remain in the field of view while scanning subjects.
● Blackbody should be positioned at the same distance and plane of where the individuals will be scanned.
● If using tripods, be aware that if they get bumped or moved that the alignment and setup to the blackbody source will need to be verified or reconfigured.
● Position the thermal camera at a height that allows for proper field of view for the individuals it will be scanning.
For more guidance on setup and deployment of HTS thermographic camera solutions, review ISO/TR 13154:2017. This specific standard provides detailed information on the implementation of thermograph devices.
Established Policies and Security Program
Human temperature screening devices must be part of an overall security program that has established policies and processes to guide their use.
Consider the tips below to make it happen:
- Outline a clear workflow from the start to support the device’s entire implementation process.
- Define a protocol for primary and secondary scanning processes and how to handle individuals who exceed the temperature threshold.
- Provide clear communication, defined areas and signage for the screening process.
- Keep in mind specific high-risk times of the year when putting together policies or plans.
- Integrate the screening device with your existing security systems like access control and visitor management to ensure risk mitigation.
One of the biggest misconceptions around human temperature screening technology is that it’s a solution to detect COVID-19. This is not a solution to detect COVID-19, as it cannot address surface contamination or asymptomatic individuals, and elevated skin temperature may or may not be indicative of COVID-19 or any other illness.
What these devices are meant for is to be part of an overall program or policy to aid in reducing the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses that may be indicated by elevated temperature, as this is one tool that helps screen individuals so corrective action can be taken.
Human temperature screening devices should not be seen as a short-term solution. Instead, they should be treated as part of a broader strategy to create long-term organizational change and a means to mitigate the future potential of such threats.
Continuous Monitoring and Maintenance
Like any security system, these devices require consistent management and periodic maintenance. When developing processes around your human temperature screening solution, be sure to dedicate proper resources for temperature accuracy checks, re-calibration when needed and to manage the screening process. Also, consider the impact of weather, environmental changes, ambient temperature, alignment issues, or other potential factors that could affect accuracy.
Finally, ensure that your operator is adequately trained and educated on the use of the equipment, the process and also how to identify and act on potential issues.
Keep Compliance in Mind
While you may know by now that this technology has specific compliance concerns, there are certain best practices to follow while working with human temperature screening. You must thoroughly understand the standards, guidelines, regulatory bodies, privacy considerations and laws that can affect the implementation of such a solution.
Here are important considerations:
- Review and work to understand ISO/TR 13154:2017 when deploying human temperature screening technology.
- Keep in mind any legal obligations as you evaluate and process people’s temperature data.
- Review, understand and follow CDC guidelines applicable to your business.
- Be aware of all EEOC, ADA, HIPAA and FDA regulatory requirements that could affect how you use this HTS solution.
It’s become clear the future of security has been significantly altered. New technologies, like human temperature screening, contact tracing and more are rising to the top of priority lists and will be critical in establishing our new normal. While it may seem overwhelming to change so many processes, we are all in this together. Work with your partners and peers and remember best practices and tips to find success.
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