Monday, October 12, 2009

Article 14 – Influenza Cleaning Contingency

The Postal Service issued the attached MMO, MMO-109-09, titled “Influenza Cleaning Contingency” for facilities to impose ADDITIONAL cleaning methods to reduce the spread of infection during the current 2009 to 2010 Influenza (Flu) season which includes H1N1 influenza. The contingency reflects the latest guidance issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The additional cleaning methods are not intended to decrease the cleaning frequencies currently used in your facility (the current cleaning frequency for your facility can be found in the current authorized and approved custodial staffing package).

The additional cleaning requirements must be performed until the flu season (Fall of 2009 to April 2010) has ended, unless otherwise notified.

Recognizing that there are facilities that may not have career maintenance employees or those career maintenance employees may be incapacitated due to flue, the MMO provides for cleaning tasks to be performed by nonmaintenance employees. In this regard the language states:

If custodial resources are not available for these tasks in facilities in which the cleaning services are performed by career maintenance bargaining unit employees, including those facilities covered by relief from another office, the Senior Postal Official (SPO) may require non-custodial personnel to perform them. However, before non-custodial postal employees can perform these cleaning requirements, they must be trained on the proper use of the cleaning chemicals and provided with any necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

There is much that is still unknown on how the H1N1 influenza pandemic will develop. At this point the CDC does not expect the H1N1 's severity to increase this flu season and therefore the cleaning tasks and infection control strategies contained in this MMO should suffice. However, this can change. Should CDC's guidance change, additional information will be issued.

Gary Kloepfer
Assistant Director
Maintenance Division
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

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