News & Information Blog

Benefits of Electronic Pre-Shift Surveys

By Susen Trail | 06/25/2020

Pre-Shift Surveys that can be completed on a computer or mobile phone, before the employees even leave the home, have many advantages over taking an employee’s temperature once they arrive.

  1. Using a temperature of 100.4’F to exclude employees from the workplace will allow infectious employees into the workplace under the following conditions:
    • Pre-symptomatic, while some take over 60 days most take up to 14 days to show symptoms
    • Individual variation in body temperature from a baseline of 98.6’F
      1. 98.6 to 100.4’F is an increase of 1.8’F, if your normal temperature is 97.2’F the equivalent to 100.4 is 99.0’F
    • Delayed fever
    • In 20% of cases a fever never develops
    • Asymptomatic
    • Infrared thermometer malfunctioned or was not used correctly
  2. No bottleneck waiting to have their temperatures taken, delaying the start of the shift which can create stress for all concerned. It can also cause employees to rush their work to catch up resulting in accidents or a decrease in quality.
  3. One or more employees will have to take the temperatures and, since they are exposed to every single employee, they are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. And then, every single employee is exposed to them under the conditions in #1 above.
  4. Depending on who you ask, the temperature may or may not be considered a medical exam falling under 1910.1020 Access to Employee Medical and Exposure Records. So, to be on the safe side:
    • This means that the temperatures must be carefully recorded.
    • Delivered to HR or the Safety Manager.
    • Administrative time must be taken to properly store the information so the employee or representative can access it for up to 30 years.
    • If the record is not digital then every person who breaths, coughs, sneezes or even talks while holding may be transferring viral particles that are viable up to 24 hours on paper.
  5. Other laws and regulations may come into play as well. For example, if the employee with the elevated temperature or being required to answer questions regarding their health to a co-worker could violate HIPAA regulations, if the source of the infection is not work related.

While a Pre-Shift Health Survey could also be considered a medical exam, a digital survey that is easily accessed before they leave home not only avoids all of the other above problems, it also provides a high value return on investment!

  1. You can identify employees who have recovered from COVID-19, a valuable resource.
  2. It can be used during cold and flu season or even the next pandemic providing long term infection prevention control. Employees are simply notified to start taking the survey again.
  3. Surveys can be used as tools to trace contacts with other employees who may have given it to him or got it from him:
    • Work area
    • Names of other employees they interact with inside or outside of their work area
    • When and where they take lunch and breaks.
    • Has he come into contact with anyone at work who is ill?
    • Is anyone at home been ill and for how long?
    • Do they attend any social events, church, kid's pay, restaurant, etc. where he or she may have been exposed off campus?
  4. You can use it so employees can report discomfort from ergonomic illnesses when the pain occurs at home, after work hours. For example, carpel tunnel pain usually hits after the sufferer has been asleep for a while.
  5. You can use the survey to find out if changes made, such as barriers installed between work stations, create an impediment to work, trip and fall hazards, etc.
  6. You can also ask if they have any suggestions.
  7. Employees can use the survey to notify work that he or she is unwell, providing symptoms. If the symptoms indicate the illness may be infectious, flu rather than broken leg, the information will allow you to drop off packets of vitamin C to employees that might be exposed. 
  8. Surveys completed pre-shift allows the supervisor to know ASAP that he is a man down.
  9. Analysis of the data may enable you to identify a cycle of illness for your facility, every November the flu hits, which allows you to schedule in changes to the available workforce.

If this all sounds good to you then contact us for a visit.  Or, go to our website for a free trial of our Safety Management software!

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