Curtis Tate - USA TODAY - Published Jul. 9, 2020
Transportation Security Administration officers will be required to change their gloves more frequently and wear face shields when screening passengers, in changes the agency is making this month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The changes follow a whistleblower complaint last month by a TSA official that the agency failed to provide enough protective equipment to personnel who come into close contact with the traveling public.
"I have no doubt whatsoever that our people became Typhoid Marys and contributed to the spread of that virus because TSA senior leadership did not make sure (screeners) were adequately protected," Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, told the Associated Press last month.
TSA officers will be required to change their gloves after every passenger pat-down or carry-on bag inspection. The agency will also require officers to wear face shields or protective eyewear when working in close contact with passengers in areas where no plastic barrier is installed.
Brainard filed the complaint last month with the Office of Special Counsel. That office then ordered the Department of Homeland Security to conduct an investigation.
TSA whistleblower says agency is not protecting workers enough: Insider claims agency kept masks from workers at start of outbreak; DHS to investigate
More than 1,000 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus since February, according to the agency, and six have died.
TSA announced the death of the sixth employee last week. Paul Muao was Miami International Airport's lead transportation security officer and had been with the agency for 18 years.
"He was always willing to step up to help others improve and ensure the mission was successfully completed," the agency said.
This TSA officer has coronavirus symptoms: But he says he can't get tested
Contributing: The Associated Press
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