Amazon is installing thermal cameras to measure employee temperature at least six warehouses outside of Los Angeles and Seattle, where the company is located, according to employees and social media posts.
Thermal cameras are faster to use than the usual digital thermometers Amazon had used to examine employees in search of fever, one of the main symptoms of the new coronavirus.
Amazon says the initiative is part of its prevention measures for employees during the coronavirus pandemic.
We implement daily temperature controls in our operations locations as an additional preventive measure to support the health and safety of our employees,who continue to provide critical service in our communities,
Lighty said. “We are now implementing the use of thermal cameras for temperature detection to create a more agile experience at some of our sites.”
These measures have been taken due to the increase in cases of coronavirus detected among Amazon staff, according to records of the company itself the number of contagions already exceeds 50. That has led some workers to worry about their safety and leave work. Unions and elected officials have called on Amazon to close its warehouses.
The implementation of thermal cameras shows how the e-commerce giant has been making efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus without having to close its warehouses.
U.S. states have authorized Amazon to distribute and deliver necessities,then the order to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus was decreed in many states. On the other hand in France, Amazon has been forced to close six of its distribution centers temporarily, due to workers’ protests about the risks of coronavirus contagion.
According to Amazon, anyone who records a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius),as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be asked to return home and will be paid up to five hours of their scheduled shift that day.
The company also said it requires employees to stay at home and seek medical attention if they have any symptoms of COVID-19,for which Amazon has adjusted the policies of assisting its workers.
All Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined will receive up to two weeks of pay, the company said. This adds to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of April, an Amazon spokesman said.
That said, Amazon would not be the first to deploy such systems. We have seen thermal cameras used in airports in the past during the SARS outbreak. More recently, a Chinese company also launched a pair of portable smart glasses with a thermal scanner built into U.S. companies.