Safety, Standards & Regulation, Workforce, Certification & Training

Thermal cameras used to detect COVID-19 among rail staff in UK

thermal

Rail networks and operators are turning to new technology such as thermal cameras to help manage the threat of COVID-19 to staff and the network.

In the UK, Network Rail has turned to technology provider Thales to install thermal cameras at critical staffing locations to detect symptoms of COVID-19.

The technology has been deployed to over 100 sites across Britain as a safety measure and to ensure business continuity.

A key symptom of COVID-19 is body temperature, so detecting elevated temperatures enables Network Rail to prevent the spread of the virus within the workforce.

David Taylor, Network Rail account manager at Thales said that the technology had to be rolled out quickly due to the significance of the situation.

“Following an initial tender request from Network Rail’s Research & Development Portfolio, the Thales team quickly rolled into action. From the issue of the request for the proposal and submission of a response, to Network Rail’s evaluation of the various offers and completion of a trial, the whole process was complete within less than two weeks,” Taylor said.

“In a normal environment this would have taken months.”

The readings from the thermal imaging camera are shown to the individual to encourage appropriate action. Up to 30 people can be measured simultaneously to a reading within +/- 0.3 °C.

An initial single trial location was quickly expanded to two to build user confidence and both trials were set up within three days of the project going ahead. Buy-in was also demonstrated with the expanded project scope, which grew from 80 cameras to 118 systems in 10 weeks.

Dubai has also rolled out the use of thermal cameras to reduce the threat of COVID-19 on the city’s metro system. The Dubai Transport Security Department will also introduce facial recognition software to bolster security, ahead of the city hosting Expo 2020, delayed to October 2021.

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