Guidance for Employee and Customer Screenings

July 20, 2020

Performing Employee Screenings
Screening employees is a wise strategy for protecting the workplace, but employers should remember that it's not 100% effective because asymptomatic individuals or individuals with mild, nonspecific symptoms may pass through screening.


Consider encouraging individuals planning to enter the workplace to self-screen prior to coming onsite and not to attempt to enter the workplace if any of the following are present:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19
  • Fever equal to or higher than 100.4oF (a lower temperature threshold may be used, especially in healthcare settings)
  • Are under evaluation for COVID-19 (for example, waiting for the results of a viral test to confirm infection)
  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not yet cleared to discontinue isolation


Consider stocking your facility with noncontact thermometers that can effectively and safely determine a person’s temperature without putting the screener at risk.


Screening Questions to Ask
If you decide to actively screen employees for symptoms rather than relying on self-screening, consider which symptoms to include in your assessment. Also, consider focusing the screening questions on symptoms that are new or unexpected, including:

  • Fever or feeling feverish (chills, sweating)
  • New cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell


Protecting Screeners
There are several methods that employers can use to protect the employee conducting the screening. The most protective methods incorporate social distancing or using partitions to eliminate or minimize the screener’s close contact with the person being screened. Examples to consider that incorporate these types of controls for temperature screening include:

  • Social Distancing. Screening staff do not need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) if they can maintain a distance of 6'. Placing social distancing reminders and physical barriers can help ensure a safe screening environment.
  • Reliance on Barrier/Partition Controls: It’s very important for the screener to remain behind shields and guards that can protect the screener’s face and mucous membranes from respiratory droplets that may be produced when the employee sneezes, coughs, or talks.
  • Hand Washing. Upon arrival, the screener should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Conduct Temperature and Symptom Screening. Put on disposable gloves, then check the employee’s temperature, reaching around the partition or through the window. Make sure the screener’s face stays behind the barrier at all times during the screening, and use a clean pair of gloves for each employee and clean the thermometer between each check. If non-contact thermometers are used, clean and disinfect them according to manufacturer’s instructions and facility policies. Remove and discard gloves, then wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.


What to do if an employee comes to work with COVID-19 symptoms?
Employees displaying symptoms should immediately be separated from everyone and sent home. Employees who develop symptoms outside of work should notify their supervisor and stay home. Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and should not return to work until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider.


Do not use antibody tests to determine which employees can work, as they only determine the presence of a past infection. Use viral tests to check for COVID-19 that rely on a respiratory sample to check for a current infection.

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