Important considerations for a safe return to business

Hangzhou, China

It is vital that staff fully understand that they are being screened, and that they agree to it beforehand

Organisations worldwide are witnessing the power of cutting-edge video to drive a return to business as (almost) usual. But while the technology itself is vital, it’s only one part of the process. However, there are also health, safety and welfare policies that businesses would do well to bring into operation alongside their technology investments.

Today’s intelligent AI-powered cameras provide vital screening services for organisations striving to get people back to business. These cameras can measure someone’s skin temperature and check if they are wearing a mask or not; they can carefully monitor crowd density, flagging when there are too many people in a certain location; and they can accurately measure the distance between people, helping to uphold local social distancing regulations.

But for this technology to deliver its full potential, businesses should also consider key HR and legal matters that may affect all those coming into view of the cameras. These considerations can be woven into a custom Health, Safety and Welfare policy, which is understood and adhered to by all.

Ensure staff are on hand and informed

First of all, businesses need to ensure there are staff available to support the screening process at the premises, and that they know exactly what they are expected to do.

Consider temperature screening, for instance. Who is going to be present to monitor temperature readings? And if someone does have a high temperature, what happens next? Moreover, what will you do if someone objects to having their temperature screened? Such things need careful consideration.

Equally, when it comes to mask detection, will members of staff be on hand to guide people towards the mask detection cameras? And if the camera finds no mask, will one be provided?

For flow control, it is vital to consider how many people can safely be accommodated on the premises at any one time.  A policy will also be needed to deal with what happens if people continue to enter a location that has reached full safe capacity. And if the system sounds an alert to one or more individuals, asking them to maintain social distancing, one key question is: how will the business enforce this?

Employee consent and privacy

It is also vital that staff fully understand that they are being screened, and that they agree to it beforehand.  Organisations should clearly inform employees of the video technology, the nature and extent of the monitoring, and its purpose, clarifying what has changed from the normal policies. It is recommended to obtain official written employee consent for being screened.

If facial recognition is selected for use for employee access control, this technology will reveal ‘personal data’, which is defined as ‘processing personal data’, and privacy regulations apply (such as GDPR in the EU). Consent for processing facial images is essential, so businesses must obtain it from each employee, who should be clearly advised that this data will be used only for future access control/ time attendance. Employees should also be given the option to withdraw their consent in the future if they change their mind.

The data of a human subject’s body temperature generated during automated temperature measurement is not defined as a ‘personal data’ under certain data protection laws. However, it cannot be ruled out that data protection law does apply in the case that it is possible (even subsequently) to identify the people passing the cameras.

Tailor the policy to the business

Of course, every business is different. So when devising health and safety procedures, it is vital that each element should be tailored to the specific business, the environment and the policies. It is vitally important to also check changing regional guidance and requirements regularly. Organisations may also want to consider getting legal advice, in order to ensure that this part of the process is absolutely right.

Hikvision, as a company, believes it has endeavoured to optimise its products and help customers reduce the compliance risks regarding data protection law. The company also recognises that technology is only one part of the back-to-business story, and has produced a Back-to-Business eBook that gives an overview of its camera portfolio, explains how to install them for the best results, and outlines the health and safety considerations for using them.


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