Employee Safety Stressed by CBP New Orleans
The agency has taken a vigorous approach to protect border patrol and customs officers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Apr 27, 2020
The Customs and Border Protection field office in New Orleans has taken a multilayered approach to ensure that employees are safe from COVID-19 virus as they fulfill the agency’s critical national security mission.
“CBP goes to great lengths to ensure our frontline officers are trained and equipped with proper personal protection gear so they can complete their border security mission in a safe working environment,” said Steven Stavinoha, CBP New Orleans’ Director of Field Operations.
Security and safety guidance issued by CDC and the White House ensure that CBP staff continue to practice social distancing. The government agency has reduced staff where possible to ensure minimum virus exposure. Uniformed officers and Border Patrol agency who reports for duty are issued Personal Protective Equipment, including nitrile gloves, N95 respirators and hand sanitizer. Agents also have been instructed with guidance on use of the safety equipment. Alternative work schedules also have been implemented so a large number of employees do not work together.
“Because of the unprecedented efforts taken by CBP to ensure a healthy workforce, legitimate international travel and trade have continued across the five-state area as we continue to support our economic prosperity,” Stavinoha said.
All CBP employees have access to an online resource portal for up-to-date health and safety information, in addition to public updates on the CBP homepage. A resource portal contains risk exposure guidance, job-specific PPE guidelines, workforce support resources, CDC prevention guidance, and video and written updates from CBP leadership.
The CBP New Orleans Office of Field Operations and USBP New Orleans Sector are located in the historic Custom House on Canal Street in New Orleans. The New Orleans Air and Marine Operations Branch, located in Hammond, LA, continues its maritime border, with offices located in Houma, LA, and Gulfport, MS. All offices remain in operation and still work jointly with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.