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April 15, 2020

Loblaws introducing voluntary temperature checks for fever

The union has been advised by Loblaws that the company will be introducing voluntary temperature checks in stores and warehouses for staff.

Members will have access to a “no touch” forehead thermometer, located at their store or warehouse, so they can check their temperature for fever upon arrival at work.

Because fever is typically among the first symptoms of COVID-19, screening people for temperature has been recognized as an effective step in helping prevent spread of the virus.

Loblaws will set up private testing areas within the workplace that members can use prior to starting their shift, and emphasizes that, “this check is not mandatory and is completely optional.”

Loblaws has a Frequently Asked Questions bulletin about their temperature check program that can be accessed here

The union’s legal counsel advises that due to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a strong legal case in favour of screening people for temperature. Screening for fever/high temperature was (and is) done extensively in South Korea and other Asian locales, and has been recognized as a particularly good strategy to isolate those who may be unknowingly carrying the virus.

The following information from Loblaws explains how the company’s temperature check program is to work:

(Loblaws) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Colleague Temperature Checks

If your temperature is below 38 degrees:

  • you can start your shift immediately. Clean the thermometer using alcohol/sanitizing wipes.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer, before leaving the area.

If your temperature is above 38 degrees:

  • Follow the steps listed below “What to do if your temperature is 38 degrees Celsius or higher”.
  • Clean the thermometer using alcohol/sanitizing wipes.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer

What to do if you’ve taken your temperature at work and your temperature is 38 degrees Celcius or higher:

  • Remain in the private space.
  • Wait 10 minutes and check your temperature a second time to confirm the first result. Please ensure that outwear clothing is removed prior to the second temperature check if not already removed.
  • Check your temperature a second time to confirm the first result.
  • Immediately notify/call your supervisor/manager if your temperature is still high (38 degrees or higher) after the second check. You are not required to tell your supervisor/manager what your actual temperature reading is, only that it is over the threshold (38 degrees or higher).
  • You will be asked to complete a Leave of Absence form before you leave the store/distribution centre
  • You will not report for your shift and should go home immediately to rest
  • At home, you must contact your Public Health office to seek their guidance for the required self-isolation period.
  • Notify your workplace of this Public Health Office self-isolation directive and continue to report this absence per your usual absence protocols. Continue to check your temperature daily while at home.
  • Do no report for work until you have completed your required self-isolation period and that your temperature is normal (37 degrees C or below) for a least 48 hours.
  • Continue to report your absence from work in accordance with your store’s/distribution centre’s absence reporting procedure.


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