Amazon, which has been inundated with protests by workers who want better working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic, will now be screening its employees for fevers using thermal cameras it has installed at some of its warehouses in the U.S. with plans to expand those efforts to European locations as well.
According to Reuters, the cameras have been installed in at least six warehouses outside Los Angeles and Seattle which is largely seen as Amazon’s headquarters. Almost surely we can expect these to roll out across different Amazon warehouses in the coming weeks.
“The cameras in effect measure how much heat people emit relative to their surroundings. They require less time and contact than forehead thermometers, earlier adopted by Amazon, the workers said,” Reuters wrote.
Especially since reports have stated the coronavirus has been reported among Amazon’s workers at more than 50 of the company’s U.S. warehouses. This has caused protests and unions to call for Amazon to shut down its warehouses and better prioritize worker safety, demanding Amazon gives employees PPE (personal protective equipment) such as N95 masks.
Amazon conceded to demands and said it would start to offer face masks and begin checking hundreds of thousands of its employees for fevers daily at all its U.S. and European warehouses. The latter seems to be a harder effort; apparently it’s less productive to scan everyone’s forehead with a traditional thermometer. Instead, the company has opted for the new trend sweeping other businesses as well: invasive thermal cameras.
Other businesses now looking at implementing thermal cameras include Intel, Tyson, and Walmart.
Not only has interest in thermal cameras skyrocketed, but the orders themselves from manufactures like U.S.-based FLIR Systems Inc, UK-based Thermoteknix Systems Ltd and Israel’s Opgal Optronic Industries Ltd, have surged according to Dailymail.