DHS Defines “Critical Infrastructure Worker”

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a list identifying “critical infrastructure workers” a.k.a. “workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability…”

The Department said that it was offering the list “to assist [state and local governments] prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions” as everyone deals with coronavirus-related restrictions and response.

The list is legally meaningless – the cover letter says, in bold type, “this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself.” But the CYA nature of federal non-binding directives and best practices means that a lot of state and local governments will tend towards adhering to the list.

The list covers a wide variety of sectors, but within transportation, it includes the following:


  • Employees supporting or enabling road transportation, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure
  • Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.
  • Mass transit workers
  • Workers responsible for operating dispatching passenger, commuter and freight trains and maintaining rail infrastructure and equipment
  • Maritime transportation workers – port workers, mariners, equipment operators
  • Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and services
  • Automotive repair and maintenance facilities
  • Manufacturers and distributors (to include service centers and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations
  • Postal and shipping workers, to include private companies
  • Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers
  • Air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers, ramp personnel, aviation security, and aviation management
  • Workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo by air transportation, including flight crews, maintenance, airport operations, and other on- and off- airport facilities workers

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