JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Mission and Installation Contracting Command leaders at all levels can make a difference by becoming involved and fostering a positive safety and occupational health culture, enabling MICC Soldiers and civilians to effectively manage their personal risk as the MICC workforce begins returning to the office after working for more than a year under COVID-19 protocols.
Last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Army officials modified operations around the world to include canceling a number of training operations, increasing distance learning, implementing social distancing in the workplace and maximizing telework.
Consistent with federal guidelines for opening up our workplaces again, and as local conditions warrant, MICC leadership remains in synch with their number one priority: the health protection and wellness of the MICC workforce.
The MICC is now in the process of resuming workplace operations to the maximum extent allowable. National guidelines allow objective assessments of health status and overall preparedness at state and installation levels to follow a phased approach for MICC Soldiers, civilians, and contractors to resume operations within the workplace.
In the near term, operations will be different from how they were prior to the pandemic. These changes are in place to help protect the workforce while accomplishing the MICC mission.
“As we return to work, how we operate will be different than what we were normally used to prior to the pandemic,” said Greg Walker, the MICC commandant and safety officer. “Protection from the virus, illness, injuries and mishaps impacts the MICC’s mission. We can mitigate those impacts by focusing on the fundamentals by following the protocols, providing training, ensuring discipline and enforcing the safety standards and guidelines.”
Leaders across the MICC continue to focus on the command’s strategy to reoccupy the workplace, as many states are transitioning to Phases 2 and 3. Command officials are closely monitoring the health protection condition adjustments and installations’ re-opening processes. Personal protective equipment has been received to allow the safe return per phase, and MICC leadership has said they will continue to measure the safe return of our workforce and remain flexible to ensure mission accomplishment.
As the command begins to increase occupancy levels in the workplace, Walker offers us a few things to keep in mind.
“For some of us driving to work has not been a regular activity during the past year,” Walker said. “Focus on the task at hand, always pay attention to the road and your vehicle, expect other drivers to make mistakes, don't trust anyone but yourself, slow down and always, always, always buckle up.”
The workplace itself poses a new set of hazardous that wasn’t there prior to the pandemic.
“You will need to evaluate your tasks and workplaces, and address any hazards,” Walker said. “The workforce will need to ensure un-needed cables, plugs, equipment, isn’t sitting around collecting dust. These items should be policed up and turn-in to the supply warehouse or the IT team. When it comes to cleaning your personal workspace it’s just that personal. It’s up to the individual to keep their areas clean, dusted and wiped down.”
Walker suggests the first thing you need to do is determine how often to clean. Then determine if regular disinfection is needed. Also, consider the resources and equipment needed and the personal protective equipment appropriate for cleaners and disinfectants.
Walker suggests cleaning high-touch surfaces at least once a day or as often as necessary. Examples of high-touch surfaces include pens, counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, stair rails, elevator buttons, desks, keyboards and phones.