COVID-19 Temperature Checks: Prescreening Truck Drivers and Staff

COVID-19 Temperature Screenings | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Prescreening temperature checks:
What are they and why are they important?

The trucking industry will be dealing with the coronavirus, or COVID-19, for the long haul, which is why prescreening temperature checks are so important.

Until a vaccine has been found, approved and mass produced and distributed, fleets and distribution sites will need to find ways to keep their drivers and facilities safe from potential exposure.

Earlier this month, the president of the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA), Todd Spencer, expressed concern that “once word spreads that drivers are testing positive, we could very well see a tremendous reduction in drivers willing to risk everything for the rest of us.”

Spencer believes there should be greater efforts made to provide drivers with personal protective equipment, which hopefully helps them avoid infection and stay on the job.

Truck drivers working from home?

Unfortunately, truck drivers cannot work from home and with more than 1.8 million CMV truck drivers in America, the potential for exposure is high.

For anyone that is exposed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance for essential workers—including those in trucking—allowing them to continue work provided they are asymptomatic and take additional precautions to protect themselves and the community.

Potential exposure means having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including the 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

This guidance was in response to several states and local cities, such as Ohio, Delaware, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County, who urged or required temperature checks before employees are permitted to report to work.

Truck drivers face greater risk of illness

Several factors put truck drivers at greater risk of being exposed and/or contracting the coronavirus, including nationwide travel, handling of overseas goods, exposure at truck stops for meals and showers and multiple facility stops.

Besides the greater risk of contact with the coronavirus, according to a 2014 study by the CDC, drivers may also be at greater risk of falling ill from the virus.

The study showed more than half of truck drivers smoke and are two times as likely to have diabetes as the rest of the population. These health factors put them in a higher risk category should they contract

Why are pre-shift temperature screenings important?

Screening each fleet driver and staff when they are reporting for duty ensures less risk to other employees. If your staff has direct contact with someone who is ill or otherwise vulnerable, it is important to catch it ahead of time to prevent spreading to other staff members.

With frequent facility stops, it is nearly impossible for drivers to know if they have been within 6 feet of someone who has been exposed to coronavirus. The best practice in this situation is to implement CDC’s guideline of pre-screen temperature checks for your entire fleet and staff.

Do not risk the health or your employees or your business. Follow these best practices when implementing temperature screenings:

  1. Communicate with your employees clearly before temperature checks are implemented
  2. Administer screening questionnaires to get a better idea of potential exposures
  3. Set a temperature test limit, preventing any employees to enter the workplace if exceeded
    • The CDC considers a person to have a fever when temperature is at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Set-up temperature testing in the least invasive way possible, ideally with devices that can register temperature without exposure to bodily fluids.  
  5. Appoint someone with proper training, such as CNS on-site staff, to facilitate or administer on-site temperature checks.
  6. Maintain social distancing guidelines with your temperature check station.

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