Person adjusting rubber gloves in front of a sink.

Employee Health Screening: What You Need to Know to Reduce Risk

By Chip Phillips on April 24, 2020

With the current challenges facing businesses, the term “employee health screening” is being use a lot.

The CDC even recommends employee health screenings, particularly for front-line workers and anyone encountering other people during their work day. But what exactly are employee health screenings and how should a business implement them?

What is an Employee Health Screening?

An employee health screening is a crucial tool to identify risks to the well being of your staff and customers.

During a health screening, important information such as temperature, possible symptoms, and travel history should be checked, to make sure that your employees are healthy and ready to go.

How Do They Help?

Employee Health Screenings reduce employee risk by rapidly identifying signs and symptoms of the Coronavirus. People who are experiencing symptoms should not be in the office or interacting with customers, and should closely monitor their symptoms once they are identified.

Conducting these screenings helps your team know when to contact their doctor (before showing up at their office), or to reach out to their local or state health department for recommendations.

These screenings can also be used to provide details on the latest guidelines and recommendations with your staff, so they can take necessary precautions to protect themselves and your customers.

Who Should Do Them?

While all organizations should have an infectious disease preparedness plan, screening for Coronavirus is vital for companies who work directly with the general public. This is especially true for those with customers and employees from high risk groups, and those who work in an environment where strict physical distancing is not always possible.

Employee health screenings can protect people across all industries and levels of exposure, from jobs at direct risk (such as healthcare, first responder, and medical transport) to jobs with indirect risk (such as schools, population-dense work environments, and high-volume retail settings).

There are two general methods to employee health screenings:

  • Self-reported Health Screenings: Each employee will submit their own screening data. This method requires some additional information and training to every staff member, but it can save time at the start of each workday. There are some potential downsides to self-reported screenings, including accurate methods across individuals, compliance with screening regulations, and trusting employees to conduct fresh testing every day and report accurate results.
  • Administered Screenings: Many organizations opt to have a set of designated screeners who collect and submit health information for multiple employees in one place. This is often done at a workplace entrance or a single check-in station, where proper PPE and training is provided to the screening staff. It is important to make sure the employees conducting the screening understand the added risks and how to mitigate them (performing their own screening at multiple times, wearing masks and gloves, regularly disinfecting surfaces and equipment).

What You’ll Need

Ideally, you will want to use digital means to screen employee health. Using employee management apps that can be sent to an employee’s phone or a company tablet will reduce potential vectors from paper forms and multiple points of contact.

Once you’ve got the screening form in place, there are other items to consider:

Reassurance and Prevention

It is vital to establish and share these precautions within the workplace. Letting your colleagues and customers know that employee health screenings are being conducted gives added assurance that their safety and health is important to your team.