How Do Thermal Cameras Work?

How Do Thermal Cameras Work | Well Health Works

The onset of Covid-19 has changed the way we conduct business. Employers have to take measures to keep their workforce safe from the virus. One way to do this is to watch out for the common symptoms of Covid-19 and quickly isolate employees who might have the virus and prevent it from spreading to other employees.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fever is one of the common symptoms to watch out for with Covid-19. Checking employees’ temperatures is a way to screen for fever, and this is where thermal cameras come in. But what exactly are thermal cameras, and how do they work? Continue reading to learn more about thermal cameras.

What Are Thermal Cameras?

Thermal cameras don’t work like regular cameras. They detect infrared light instead of visible light. They use a process called thermal imaging, where they create an image using infrared radiation that an object emits. In simpler words, thermal cameras see heat.

The subject’s image that they create is a representation of the subject’s temperature. The human eye can’t see infrared radiation, so thermal imaging converts infrared light into electric signals. Then, they create an image based on the information they get from these electric signals.

How Do They Work?

Thermal cameras use infrared radiation to make thermal images. The thermal camera’s lens focuses the infrared energy on a set of detectors. These infrared detectors then create a pattern called a thermogram. Then, the thermogram is converted to electrical signals to create a thermal image that we can see and interpret.

Thermal cameras convert infrared energy into an image where the surface temperature of an object is shown. Each temperature is appointed a specific color, and this results in a gradient map.

Generally, thermal cameras show warmer temperatures with a yellow-orange color. The hue gets brighter as the temperature gets warmer. In contrast, objects with colder temperatures are shown as a bluish-purple color.

Their Importance in This Pandemic

Thermal cameras have proven to be useful now that we are in the midst of Covid-19. It helps establishments and workplaces monitor the temperature of the people inside the building. A high temperature might indicate a fever, and it can be used as a screening tool to isolate people with high temperatures.

The use of thermal cameras in the workplace is a way for employers to bring their employees back to the workplace safely. Employers can benefit from several advantages that thermal cameras offer.

The Advantages of Thermal Cameras

The use of thermal cameras in the workplace to screen for Covid-19 can present several advantages for employers. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Thermal imaging systems allow people to evaluate other people’s temperatures without requiring them to be near the subject or even in the same room as the subject.
  • Thermal cameras eliminate the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) since they don’t require people to be near the subject when they get their temperature.
  • Thermal cameras measure temperatures faster compared to thermometers that require close or physical contact.
  • Thermal imaging systems help reduce the need for many thermometers, especially during a public health emergency.
  • With the proper use of thermal cameras, they can measure temperatures accurately compared to other temperature-measuring devices.

The Limitations of Thermal Cameras

Although thermal cameras sound like a good investment for employers, it’s important to note that they have their limitations, too. Like with all things, there are pros and cons, and it’s up to us to determine if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Here are some of the disadvantages of thermal cameras:

  • Thermal cameras are not a diagnostic tool for Covid-19. Not everyone infected with Covid-19 manifests fever as a symptom. Some people are even asymptomatic. The person will need to undergo a complete diagnostic test to determine if they have Covid-19 or not.
  • Although thermal cameras measure temperatures accurately, it mainly depends on the proper setup and operation of the equipment.
  • You must use thermal cameras in the right environment and location to produce accurate results.
  • The person in charge of the thermal imaging system must be properly trained to interpret the results correctly.
  • Thermal cameras measure surface skin temperature. Surface skin temperature is usually lower compared to temperatures measured orally. So the thermal imaging system must be adjusted to correct the difference in measurements.
  • Thermal cameras aren’t recommended for the temperature measurement of multiple people at once.

Tips When Using Thermal Cameras in the Workplace

  • Always keep the data obtained from scans private. Assure your employees that their scan results will be kept confidential.
  • Notify your employees about the use of a thermal imaging system by putting up signages or distributing acknowledgment forms.
  • Explain to your employees the importance of thermal cameras and why they need to have their temperatures checked.
  • Establish policies and procedures and what to do if someone has a temperature outside of the normal range. Have protocols set in place in case an employee is suspected to be infected with Covid-19?
  • It’s recommended to scan one employee’s surface skin temperature at a time.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when operating the thermal imaging system. Make sure to position the subject at a fixed distance from the thermal camera. Also, ensure that they are facing the camera directly.
  • Make sure that the employee’s whole face is seen in the image area. If you’re using a calibrated blackbody, ensure that you also include it in the image area.
  • If an employee registers an increased temperature, confirm if it’s a fever by using a different device such as a thermometer.

Final Thoughts

Now that businesses are reopening, the task of getting employees safely back to the workplace is at hand. Assure your employees that you are putting precautions in place to ensure that they are safe from the virus. Thermal imaging systems can be of great help, especially when screening your employees from fever, which is a common symptom of Covid-19. Make your workplace a safe place to work with the help of Well Health Works. We offer wellness corporate solutions, Covid-19 employee testing, and so much more. Get in touch with us today by calling us at 833-935-9355 or sending us an email at info@wellhealthworks.com.

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