Status Report

Message From The NASA Associate Administrator: Prioritizing Health & Safety

By SpaceRef Editor
April 9, 2020
Filed under ,
Prioritizing Health & Safety
As NASA does its part to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), approximately 90% of our civil servant workforce now is teleworking. For those who continue to work on-site, and for all contractors who also are reporting on-site for work every day, your health and safety must continue to be the priority.
Building on Administrator Bridenstine’s April 7 message about prioritizing health and safety, I would like to address three areas in which we can make a real difference.
Work Safely
On a normal day, our work is challenging, which is – in part – why we are drawn to it. For those who continue to work on-site, the challenges are greater right now as we work to keep the NASA mission moving forward, while also following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay healthy. There is never a time for cutting corners – especially when it comes to safety. Please continue to follow all workplace safety guidelines, and if you see something, say something.
Prioritize Your Health
Civil servants and contractors who are reporting to work on-site but do not feel it’s in the best interest of their health and safety to continue doing so should talk to their supervisor or contract management about options to address their concerns. Alternate work arrangements will be made without reservation or reprisal.
Options include:
  • changing on-site work conditions (e.g., wearing personal protective equipment)
  • providing alternative assignments that allow employees to telework
  • taking weather/safety leave (civil servants)
Address Illness
If you have signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, or test positive for COVID-19:
  1. Stay home and immediately call your private health care provider to determine the safest way to access care.
  2. Do not go to your center occupational health clinic. They are not set up to isolate patients.
  3. Follow your health care provider’s recommendations about care and recovery.
  4. Notify your supervisor. Employee medical information will be protected.
  5. Once you are symptom free, notify your supervisor. Your supervisor will consult with the center medical staff to determine when it’s safe for you to return to work. 
  1. Notify your center medical clinic of the positive test. They will advise you on steps required to trace the employee’s whereabouts and potential contacts during the potentially-infective period.
  2. To the extent possible, and except in discussions with medical personnel, refrain from using the employee’s name when notifying other employees. 
  3. The center medical clinic also can assist the supervisor in assessing any onsite actions required to ensure the workplace is safe for other employees/contractors.
  4. Once your employee is told by their health care provider they are no longer ill, or is symptom free, contact your center medical clinic to assess the employee’s duty status.
Please continue to check the NASA People website for updates and helpful information, and communicate regularly with your supervisor. We will get through this together.

SpaceRef staff editor.