With confirmed COVID-19 cases across over 70 Amazon sites, the company has begun implementing thermal camera technology to quicker detect any potential virus cases among its employees.
Currently, Amazon has started the use of thermal cameras at some of its warehouse facilities. The technology works by measuring the temperature of a person compared to their surroundings. Should the camera detect a high body temperature, a further second step is taken and their temperature is then measured with a forehead thermometer to obtain an accurate reading. With fever and higher body temperature being one of the symptoms of COVID-19, Amazon aims to employ these preventative measures daily to protect the health and safety of its staff.
This screening system, alongside the provision of face masks to all of its employees, was developed after receiving some pressure from lawmakers who raised employee safety issues. Not just that, Amazon has also received criticism and backlash for not closing warehouses where employees had tested positive for the virus. This also includes one employee's death from a facility in California, although Amazon alleges that the worker caught the virus while on a holiday and had not been in contact with their colleagues since the beginning of March.
At the moment, following a recent firing of two Amazon employees who revealed the unsatisfying conditions at the warehouses and the lack of available protection for those working on the front line during the pandemic, employees are preparing for a virtual protest walkout on April 24th.
Lead image by איתן טל Etan Tal used under Creative Commons.