Federal Eye: DHS Issues ‘Interim’ Swine Flu Guidelines

The Department of Homeland Security has issued new interim guidelines to employees who may come in contact with travelers who have contracted swine flu. The instructions follow requests that DHS allow workers to wear protective masks made by the union that represents Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration employees .

A memo obtained last night by The Washington Post instructs CBP, TSA or Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees who come in contact with people known or suspected to be infected to wear protective masks. Workers should also frequently wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough and stay home if they feel ill. Pregnant employees and those with asthma, cardiac or kidney disease who cannot wear masks must discuss other potential protective measures with supervisors, according to the memo. (See the full memo after the jump.)

The guidance is described as “an interim measure until the Office of Personnel Management provides comprehensive guidance for all federal employees.” OPM distributed recommendations to all federal employees earlier this week instructing them to keep at least six feet from anyone who appears ill.

The updated instructions, while not much different than the OPM guidance, come after DHS officials met earlier this week with the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents all CBP officers and some transportation security officers (TSOs).

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