Fast food chains are temperature checking staff

By Sarah Stowe | 28 May 2020 View comments

News that two giants in fast food franchising, McDonald’s and Domino’s, are employing temperature checks on frontline staff has raised concern from the Retail and Fast Food Workers Alliance.

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 May pointed to a new regime of checking temperatures before staff join a shift.

A spokesperson from Domino’s confirmed the testing is going ahead at the pizza chain as part of a wider raft of measures.

“In addition to our standard rigorous food safety and hygiene practices, we have implemented initiatives such as Zero Contact Pick-Up and Delivery; hand sanitiser for front and back of house; physical barriers to assist social distancing in our stores; and thermometer testing of team members prior to each shift.”

Temperature checking staff

The spokesperson said any team member found to have an elevated temperature (after two readings) will not be able to work. Domino’s said it does nor store or record the information.

“Our franchisees and team members have welcomed these changes, knowing we are putting their safety, and that of our customers, first.

“We will continue to listen to advice from relevant health authorities and will adjust our operations accordingly.”

A spokesperson for McDonalds confirmed the temperature checks are being trialled in Victoria in accordance with state government advice.

“All temperature checks are non-invasive and will be conducted by a manager, using a contact-free thermometer. It is compulsory that an employee undergoes a temperature check before they are permitted to start a shift.

“As stated by the Government, staff are directed to stay at home if they have a fever (a temperature of 37.5°C or greater), or if they have any symptoms.”

In addition to strict cleaning measures and social distancing, McDonald’s claims anti-microbial hand wash is available for customers and employees, and every employee must wear gloves.”

The business has also introduced kiosk shields installed to every second kiosk.

“McDonald’s remains committed to following all relevant Government guidance,” the spokesperson said.

However the Retail and Fast Food Workers Alliance (RAFFWU) views the temperature checks as “preposterous” and an invasion of privacy.

Josh Cullinan, secretary of the RAFFWU said the process is “a simple ruse to lead the ill-informed into a false sense of security”.

“RAFFWU is deeply concerned by the forced thermal checking of workers by untrained managers using non-accredited and uncalibrated devices.”

He said workers were not consulted about the policy or given any opportunity to voice concern.

“Our members have been threatened with fines if they work without checks, and told by managers the checks have been mandated by the Victorian Department of Health. That Department has now confirmed this is simply not true.”

HR Dept told Inside Franchise Business any changes to health and safety policy must be in guided by Safe Work Australia.

What Safe Work says about temperature checks

  • seek the advice of your public health authority on the appropriate method of temperature checking, equipment, PPE and control measures required to ensure safe testing
  • consult with your workers, and their health and safety representatives, and take their views into account
  • provide instruction to all workers on the process for temperature checks, including emphasising the importance of maintaining the other control measures
  • provide information, training, instruction and supervision, as well appropriate PPE for workers conducting temperature checks, and
  • get advice on leave/stand down arrangements for employees who register high temperatures.

Digital check-in option unveiled

A software firm has introduced an app, 1Breadcrumb, that puts the onus on customers to check in and out of restaurants and businesses they visit.

Founder Paul Willson said reopening Australia for business means ensuring venues can feel confident in quickly tracing impacted patrons if there’s another outbreak.

“Businesses need to be able to access information about who has been on site, for how long, and who they interacted with – in case of a secondary outbreak,” he said.

Wilson told Inside Franchise Business the information goes into an encrypted server that only the business has access to.

The app could also be used to record temperatures if businesses are using temperature checks.