DHS categorizes propane personnel as essential workers

March 23, 2020 By    

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with other federal agencies, published guidance on “essential critical infrastructure workers” for state and local authorities that have or are considering “shelter-in-place” ordinances or similar restrictions on movement.

The intent of the guidance is to eliminate or minimize discrepancies in defining “essential workers” among state and local authorities to maintain operation of key industry sectors.

NPGA communicated with the agencies to include propane employees among “essential workers” classifications. The guidance document identifies propane employees as essential workers under the sectors for energy as well as transportation and logistics. It’s important for companies to carefully review the entirety of the guidance for how it applies to the different job functions of all employees, the association says.

After its initial report, DHS released an expanded and reorganized version 2.0, which includes language to more specifically identify propane equipment manufacturers and distributors as among the essential workforce.

Here are excerpts from the guidance:


  • Providing services related to energy sector fuels, including propane.
  • Dispatch and control rooms and emergency response and customer emergencies, including propane leak calls.
  • Propane gas service maintenance and restoration, including call centers.
  • Propane gas storage, transmission and distribution centers.
  • Manufacturing and distribution of equipment, supplies and parts necessary to maintain production, maintenance, restoration and service at energy sector facilities.

Transportation and logistics

  • Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including truck drivers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers who maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those who require cross-jurisdictional travel).
  • Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions and services.
  • Automotive repair and maintenance facilities.
  • Employees who repair and maintain vehicles … and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers.

It is suggested that workers keep a copy of the guidance when entering areas under restrictions. The list is intended to advise state and local authorities, as well as critical infrastructure industry partners, and is not a federal directive or standard. States and local ordinances must directly incorporate or name the guidance for it to apply, NPGA notes. Some states and local ordinances have developed similar definitions for “essential workers.”

The guidance is also available under the COVID-19 section of NPGA’s membership dashboard.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on March 30 to reflect version 2.0 of the guidance.

*Featured image: tttuna/E+/Getty Images

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