Thermal imaging is not new technology. It was originally developed for military use in the Korean War. Now it can be used for Search and Rescue missions, law enforcement, and firefighting. It is also being used for a myriad number of home maintenance applications to discover electrical problems, plumbing issues, and roof repair.
The technology has now found its way into the workplace, including construction job sites. Thermal imaging is being used to monitor worker health. The idea is to keep tabs on the body temperatures of workers to see if any of them has a fever. A fever is one of the early symptoms of the coronavirus.
Here’s a short video from Yahoo! Finance on how Amazon is using thermal cameras on its employees.
My first concern is with worker privacy. Does the technology comply with privacy protections that are already in place? I understand the need to contain the virus and prioritize the safety of workers in this unprecedented time, but when we get back to “normal,” will this become standard operating procedure?
Companies have developed wearable technology that can keep track of employee location and movements. In our rush to respond to the novel coronavirus, are we moving a bit too fast to consider a possibly slow deterioration of worker privacy?
Let me know what you think.