The Definitive Return to Work Glossary

The Definitive Return to Work Glossary

By Tricia O'Connor

Implementing a Return to Work strategy and program is paramount in fending off COVID-19 and protecting your employees, clients, and visitors from a health, wellness, and safety standpoint. A Return to Work program also protects your physical assets and keeps you moving toward your business goals.

EBI wants to help you prepare whatever Return to Work program you implement, including our own Workplace Health & Safety Solution. Read on for more must-know terms and definitions.

Although we’ve heard the phrase ‘Return to Work’ a lot recently, there is still so much to learn about the complexity of this re-imagined operational framework. From contact tracing to thermal screening, we wanted to help you by starting with the basics; we’ve compiled a glossary of new terms, products, and jobs involved in Return to Work programs and technologies.

Return to Work Terms

CDC Symptom Checker – A series of questions a person can answer daily to determine if they’re showing signs of COVID-19 and what, if any, actions they should take. You can find a list of symptoms here, as well as a self-check guide (look for the box that says ‘Self-Checker) to help you make decisions about your symptoms, exposure, and need for care.


Asymptomatic Transmission – When a person who shows no signs of a disease, in this case COVID-19, transmits it to another person. The original person is infected with the coronavirus, but does not display symptoms during the course of their infection and unknowingly infects other people. 

Contact Tracing – The process of identifying people who may have come in contact with an infected person. Professionals use a symptom date and then track back through incubation time to identify an ‘at risk’ population.

Contact Tracer – A person who identifies and contacts people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus; provides health guidance and assistance.

Health Monitor / Tester – A person who administers COVID-19 tests.

Temperature Screener – A person who takes the temperatures of employees and/or guests; may ask survey questions.

Thermal Screening – The practice of measuring employees’ temperatures through advanced thermal imaging technology to determine if they can safely enter the workplace. This can be self-administered through a smart thermometer temperature reading application or a thermal entry point scanner. Advanced thermal imaging technology detects a person’s temperature in less than three seconds and has a measurement accuracy of +/- 0.5 degrees F.


Oral Fluid Drug Test – A mouth swab or saliva drug test used to detect substance use within the last 36 hours. They are easy to administer, minimally invasive (no syringes or urine is required), and can be done instantly in person, virtually, or in a lab.


Safety Culture Consultant – A person who facilitates workplace physical modifications and/or facilitates employee emotional safety reassurances.

Workplace Reconfiguration Specialist – A person who modifies the layouts of workplaces to encourage physical distancing.

Workplace Safety Technician – A person who is responsible for installing physical distancing and safety modifications (counter shields, plexiglass dividers, etc.)

Viral Shedding – When a virus is released from an infected host. It is necessary to understand how and when a virus can be shed to help mitigate spread.

EBI Can Help

We understand this is a lot to learn on top of everything else you are juggling in this new economic environment. We’d love to speak with you, but if you’re not quite ready to pick up the phone or email us, here are some additional Return to Work blogs you may find helpful:

Our goal at EBI is to give you the knowledge and tools necessary to optimize your business and improve the overall quality of your operations. If you’re ready to Return to Work, our EBI experts can help.

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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