Safer Federal Workplace Initiative:
The President created the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to give the heads of federal agencies ongoing guidance to keep their employees safe and their agencies operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The standards of worker health and safety have changed significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies were forced to act quickly and make bold decisions to keep workers safe and slow the spread of the virus. The President created the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to give the heads of federal agencies ongoing guidance to keep their employees safe and their agencies operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the coronavirus outbreak and in line with the recommendations of the Task Force, the U.S General Services Administration (GSA) has altered their procedures for cleaning and disinfection for federal buildings in accordance with CDC guidance. It is important for federal business owners to understand the Safer Federal Workplace Initiative and how to comply for a safer and healthier workplace environment.
Entry Screening Procedures
GSA guidelines state that occupant agencies in federal GSA-controlled facilities have the right to limit or refuse access to the public to achieve orderly conduct of business. The organization’s Facility Security Committee (FSC) is responsible for implementing enhanced entry screening procedures after consulting with a GSA facility manager, and either the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) or Federal Protective Service (FPS).
If the entry screening procedures are approved, the occupant agencies must provide payment based on the pro rata share of available square footage in the GSA-controlled facility. Occupant agencies must also give PBS a reimbursable work authorization (RWA).
Safety Signage Guidelines
Disease transmission levels are being regularly monitored by GSA personnel. In response to local COVID-19 transmission levels and current CDC guidelines, Facility Managers are teaming up with the FSC to post the appropriate COVID-19 and mask-wearing signage for contractors, visitors, and other building occupants.
If a building is located in a high or substantial transmission area, or if the location requires masks, signs that indicate masks are required must be posted at all exterior entrances of the building. Facilities not located in a high or substantial transmission area must have signage that expresses that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks indoors unless mandatory by law or local guidance. The occupant agency must provide funding for any necessary signage and update the signage as needed.
The GSA, with guidance from the CDC, recommends that business owners improve the engineering controls for their facility’s ventilation system. This may involve:
Face Mask Wearing Guidelines
Current guidelines published by the CDC, coupled with Executive Order 13991, declare that all federal contractors and employees must wear masks in federal buildings located in high or substantial community transmission areas or where mask-wearing is mandated by local jurisdiction.
People who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks in federal facilities regardless of the current community transmission level. People who are fully vaccinated are not typically required to wear masks in most settings except when required by federal or local laws or regulations.
Cleaning & Disinfection Protocols
Federal buildings must meet certain cleanliness standards to keep employees healthy and to slow the spread of the virus. The GSA recommends:
Suspected or Confirmed Cases
If an occupant organization becomes aware of a COVID-19 case involving a contractor, employee, or visitor to the organization, all staff, contractors, and the GSA Facility Manager, must be immediately notified. The organization must also notify the Facility Security Committee and Designated Official within 24 hours of the incident being reported.
Following these guidelines outlined above will help to ensure all federal employees, contractors, and visitors can safely work together.