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essential workers

Working through a Pandemic: Who is considered an “Essential Worker”?

Nothing is more important to us at OPS than our people, clients, suppliers, and families. Our priority is always the safety and well-being of anyone we work with.

Recently, most businesses have been forced to temporarily close as communities across the world battle to slow the spread of the Covid 19 strain of Coronavirus. Several states across the country have issued orders mandating that everyone not classified an “essential worker” stay home or isolated and minimize contact with others. While these are important measures to limit exposure, it’s more critical than ever that certain sectors of the economy continue to provide the goods, materials, and services needed for all of us to get through this difficult period.

To help clarify the situation, the Department of Homeland Security has put together guidelines as to what positions are considered essential. These include positions in many of the industries we work in partnership with.

TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS

• Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including truck drivers, bus drivers,
dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers,
and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require cross-jurisdiction travel)
• Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging,
and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale oruse.
• Mass transit workers
• Workers responsible for operating dispatching passenger, commuter and freight trains and maintaining rail
infrastructure and equipment
• Maritime transportation workers – port workers, mariners, equipmentoperators
• Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions,
and services
• Automotive repair and maintenance facilities
• Manufacturers and distributors (to include service centers and related operations) of packaging materials,
pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and
distribution operations
• Postal and shipping workers, to include privatecompanies
• Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and
infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers
• Air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers and maintenance personnel, ramp workers,
aviation and aerospace safety, security, and operations personnel and accident investigations
• Workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo by air transportation, includingflight crews,
maintenance, airport operations, and other on- and off- airport facilitiesworkers

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

• Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retail that sells human food, animal/pet food, and
beverage products
• Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations – Carry-out and delivery foodemployees
• Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing
(packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood
slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for
animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging
• Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and
distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm
and fishery labor needed to produce our food supplydomestically
• Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol
facilities; storage facilities; and other agriculturalinputs
• Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendormanaged inventory controllers and blockchain managers
• Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail
• Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feedemployees
• Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
• Workers essential for assistance programs and governmentpayments
• Employees of companies engaged in the production, storage, transport, and distribution of chemicals,
medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides,
herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids
• Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of
animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.;
transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal;
raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants, renderers, and
associated regulatory and government workforce
• Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber,
paper, and other wood products
• Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to
agricultural production and distribution

ENERGY

Electricity industry:
• Workers who maintain, ensure, or restore, or are involved in the development, transportation, fuel
procurement, expansion, or operation of the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power,
including call centers, utility workers, reliability engineers and fleet maintenance technicians
• Workers needed for safe and secure operations at nuclear generation
• Workers at generation, transmission, and electric blackstart facilities
• Workers at Reliability Coordinator (RC), Balancing Authorities (BA), and primary and backup Control Centers
(CC), including but not limited to independent system operators, regional transmission organizations, and
balancing authorities
• Mutual assistancepersonnel
• IT and OT technology staff – for EMS (Energy Management Systems) and Supervisory Control and Data
Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and utility data centers; Cybersecurity engineers; cybersecurity risk management
• Vegetation management crews and traffic workers whosupport
• Environmental remediation/monitoring technicians
• Instrumentation, protection, and controltechnicians
Petroleum workers:
• Petroleum product storage, pipeline, marine transport, terminals, rail transport, roadtransport
• Crude oil storage facilities, pipeline, and marine transport
• Petroleum refinery facilities
• Petroleum security operations center employees and workers who support emergency responseservices
• Petroleum operations control rooms/centers
• Petroleum drilling, extraction, production, processing, refining, terminal operations, transporting, and retail for
use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemicalmanufacturing
• Onshore and offshore operations for maintenance and emergency response
• Retail fuel centers such as gas stations and truck stops, and the distribution systems that support them
Natural and propane gas workers:
• Natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines, including compressorstations
• Underground storage of natural gas
• Natural gas processing plants, and those that deal with natural gasliquids
• Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities
• Natural gas security operations center, natural gas operations dispatch and control rooms/centers natural gas
emergency response and customer emergencies, including natural gas leak calls
• Drilling, production, processing, refining, and transporting natural gas for use as end-use fuels, feedstocks for
chemical manufacturing, or use in electricitygeneration
• Propane gas dispatch and control rooms and emergency response and customer emergencies, including
propane leak calls
• Propane gas service maintenance and restoration, including call centers

COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Communications:
• Maintenance of communications infrastructure- including privately owned and maintained communication
systems- supported by technicians, operators, call-centers, wireline and wireless providers, cable service
providers, satellite operations, undersea cable landing stations (including cable marine depots and
submarine cable ship operators), Internet Exchange Points, and manufacturers and distributors of
communications equipment
• Workers who support radio, television, and media service, including, but not limited to front line news
reporters, studio, and technicians for newsgathering andreporting
• Workers at Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations, and Network Operations
staff, engineers and/or technicians to manage the network or operatefacilities
• Engineers, technicians and associated personnel responsible for infrastructure construction and restoration,
including contractors for construction and engineering of fiber opticcables
• Installation, maintenance and repair technicians that establish, support or repair service asneeded
• Central office personnel to maintain and operate central office, data centers, and other network officefacilities
• Customer service and support staff, including managed and professional services as well as remote providers
of support to transitioning employees to set up and maintain home offices, who interface with customers to
manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll, billing, fraud, and
troubleshooting
• Dispatchers involved with service repair andrestoration
Information Technology:
• Workers who support command centers, including, but not limited to Network Operations CommandCenter,
Broadcast Operations Control Center and Security Operations CommandCenter
• Data center operators, including system administrators, HVAC & electrical engineers, security personnel, IT
managers, data transfer solutions engineers, software and hardware engineers, and database administrators
• Client service centers, field engineers, and other technicians supporting critical infrastructure, as well as manufacturers and supply chain vendors that provide hardware and software, and information technology
equipment (to include microelectronics and semiconductors) for critical infrastructure
• Workers responding to cyber incidents involving critical infrastructure, including medical facilities, SLTT
governments and federal facilities, energy and utilities, and banks and financial institutions, and other critical
infrastructure categories and personnel
• Workers supporting the provision of essential global, national and local infrastructure for computing services
(incl. cloud computing services), business infrastructure, web-based services, and critical manufacturing
• Workers supporting communications systems and information technology used by law enforcement, public
safety, medical, energy and other critical industries
• Support required for continuity of services, including janitorial/cleaning personnel

CRITICAL MANUFACTURING

Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, and
for supply chains associated with transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical
manufacturing, nuclear facilities,the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency
services, and the defense industrial base. Additionally, workers needed to maintain the continuity of these
manufacturing functions and associated supply chains.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

• Workers at nuclear facilities, workers managing medical waste, workers managing waste from pharmaceuticals
and medical material production, and workers at laboratories processing testkits
• Workers who support hazardous materials response and cleanup
• Workers who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting hazardous materials management operations

PUBLIC WORKS

• Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential dams, locks and levees
• Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and
operations, including bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of
critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities,
maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations, and other emergent issues
• Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that
are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation ofresidences
• Support, such as road and line clearing, to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy
and communications
• Support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and
hazardous waste

PUBLIC SAFTEY

• Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures
• Personnel in emergency management, law enforcement, Emergency Management Systems, fire, air
medical, and corrections, including front line and management
• Emergency Medical Service Technicians
• Hazardous material responders from government and the private sector.
• Workers – including contracted vendors — who maintain, manufacture, or supply digital systems infrastructure supporting law enforcement emergency service, and response operations.

HEALTHCARE / PUBLIC HEALTH

• Workers providing COVID-19 testing; Workers that perform critical clinical research needed for COVID-19
response
• Caregivers (e.g., physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection
control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants,
social workers, speech pathologists and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians and technologists)
• Hospital and laboratory personnel (including accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering,
epidemiological, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, information
technology and operational technology, nutritionists, sanitarians, respiratory therapists, etc.)
• Workers in other medical facilities (including Ambulatory Health and Surgical, Blood Banks, Clinics, Community
Mental Health, Comprehensive Outpatient rehabilitation, End Stage Renal Disease, Health Departments, Home
Health care, Hospices, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Organ Pharmacies, Procurement Organizations, Psychiatric
Residential, Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers)
• Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of medical equipment,
personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases, pharmaceuticals (including materials used in
radioactive drugs), blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning,
sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products
• Public health / community health workers, including those who compile, model, analyze and communicate
public health information
• Blood and plasma donors and the employees of the organizations that operate and manage related activities
• Workers that manage health plans, billing, and health information, who cannot practically work remotely
• Workers who conduct community-based public health functions, conducting epidemiologic surveillance,
compiling, analyzing and communicating public health information, who cannot practically work remotely
• Workers performing cybersecurity functions at healthcare and public health facilities, who cannot practically
work remotely
• Workers conducting research critical to COVID-19 response
• Workers performing security, incident management, and emergency operations functions at or on behalf of
healthcare entities including healthcare coalitions, who cannot practically workremotely
• Workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically
disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing inshelters
• Pharmacy employees necessary for filling prescriptions
• Workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers
• Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification,
transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death;
and facilitate access to mental/behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of
an incident

OTHER ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

• Workers to ensure continuity of building functions
• Workers that maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting other critical government operations
• Workers at operations centers necessary to maintain other essential functions
• Workers who support necessary credentialing, vetting and licensing operations for transportation workers
• Customs workers who are critical to facilitating trade in support of the national emergency response supply
chain
• Hotel Workers where hotels are used for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures

OPS is committed to keeping these critical jobs staffed and to support all of those working with us as we all continue to do our part to slow the spread of the disease.

For more information, contact us, download this PDF released by the CISA listing “essential” positions or visit the CDC website for the most current safety precautions.