COVID-19 Screening – Fact or Fiction?


Most people are close to reaching a point of complete apathy when it comes to COVID-19. Not just the pandemic itself, but the entire new “normal” way of life we are forced to subscribe to.

The problem with this is that the cautiousness and thoroughness of our resolve weakens over time and we begin to disregard our own preventative measures. After all the media coverage and the “free” advice that is broadcast through all the social media platforms, the simple truth is that the fight against COVID-19 is extremely simple – masks, hygiene, social distancing, and a dedication to consistency. 

The virus does not travel by itself and the only way the virus can enter our workplaces, or our homes is when it is brought in by us.

Covid-19 Screening is crucial

As part of this process, screening each person correctly and consistently when they enter the work environment each day is crucial to the risk mitigation plan and must continue to form part of your organization’s entry procedure.

The problem, however, is that there is a common misconception surrounding the actual screening document. This is partly because of the original panic that resulted in many companies implementing a manual and ineffective screening process that has added very little value.

The screening checklist should be seen as more of an overall wellness audit. The list of symptoms must be used to establish whether the individual employee’s wellbeing has changed or is showing signs not noticed before.

An example of this has been found with a client in the Eastern Cape, where an employee was using Antihistamines due to their hay fever. The employee had a runny nose and / or a headache which could have been misdiagnosed as COVID-19 if daily screening was not done and records of the employee’s symptoms not kept on a daily basis.

Holistic Screening

The screening should be done on a holistic basis, where temperature readings and the symptoms are reviewed in conjunction with each other to establish the condition of the person being screened. The key is to ensure that the person being screened is properly educated regarding the approach and the importance of being open and transparent in disclosing the symptoms.

The second key to a successful screening is to ensure that management provide a level of oversight during the screening process and review screening data to ensure that it is being done correctly and effectively.

Finally, there is a relational side to the screening process where there is care and understanding, keeping in mind that we are dealing with a virus that will only be defeated by teamwork and a work environment that demonstrates openness, transparency and an element of care.

Author: Morne’ Oosthuizen – Senior Health & Safety Consultant , LabourNet Eastern Cape

For more information on the above topic, please contact the LabourNet Helpdesk at 0861 LABNET (0861 522638).

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