General Motors has purchased a number of thermal imaging cameras for taking employees’ temperatures when its U.S. assembly plants come back online later this month.
The automaker confirmed to Reuters this week that it had purchased a total of 377 thermal cameras from manufacturer Flir, which it will deploy to 72 of its facilities once they begin to open back up the week of May 18th. The specialized cameras are able to take an employees’ temperature from a distance so the operator does not have to get close to or touch the employee to determine if they may have a fever.
In addition to having their temperature taken when they arrive on-site, GM employees will be required to sanitize their hands, put on a mask, gloves and goggles and answer a series of questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms. The automaker will also implement social distancing practices at its factories, spacing workers further out from one another while they work the assembly line. GM tested some of these safety protocols on 1,000 volunteer workers at its Arlington Assembly plant earlier this month.
GM confirmed this week that it is planning for its U.S. factories to come back online the week of May 18th after they shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The automaker has already let UAW members and major shareholders know of its plan to restart its production lines in a couple of weeks’ time.
“We’ve communicated our target restart date with our employees and other key stakeholders,” the automaker said in a statement.
GM agreed to pay workers for up to 14 days if they are forced into quarantine. Pay for quarantined workers was an important requirement the UAW had for returning to work this month, expressing concern that employees who thought they would lose pay would not report COVID-19 symptoms to their superiors.