14 FAH-4 H-120

MAILroom facilitieS

(CT:DPM-33;   11-07-2019)
(Office of Origin:  A/LM)

14 FAH-4 H-121  physical requirements

14 FAH-4 H-121.1  Mail Screening Facilities at Posts Abroad

(CT:DPM-33;   11-07-2019)

a. All mail must be screened at the first point of entry into the U.S. Government facility, for example at a compound perimeter wall or at a building exterior, before it enters a mailroom.  Mail screening, which occurs outside the main building in a mail screening facility, is a separate and distinct task from mail sorting, which takes place in the mailroom.  See 14 FAH-4 H-331 for mail screening procedures.

b. Mail screening must be performed in a facility outside the main building, preferably in a removable modular facility, or in an area or device/container that has its own ventilation system.

c.  The standard mail screening facility consists of two rooms: the initial screening area and the secondary screening area:

(1)  The initial screening area is used for identifying suspicious items using the guidelines in 14 FAH-4 Exhibit H-331 and will be occupied when mail is delivered and screened; and

(2)  The secondary area is used for opening suspect items and will normally be unoccupied.  This secondary screening area must be accessed only through the initial screening area.

d. At a minimum, a mail screening facility must include the following:

(1)  Both the initial and secondary screening areas must be under negative pressure, relative to atmosphere or adjacent spaces;

(2)  The secondary area must be ventilated by a 100 percent exhaust Class I biological safety cabinet (with an integral high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter), supported by a commercial kitchen-grade stainless steel table; and

(3)  The mail screening facility must be finished with seamless resilient flooring, and must have a sanitary radius cove at the intersection of the floor and walls.  The walls and ceiling must be finished with washable semi-gloss or gloss enamel paint.

e. Posts abroad that have a permanent structure mail screening facilities (i.e., not having removable modular facilities) are considered to have an interim mail screening facility.  Interim mail screening facilities must be outside of the main building, have slab-to-slab wall construction, and have an isolated HVAC system where no return ducting or transfer grilles allow HVAC air to leave the mail screening facility, unless through a Class I biological safety cabinet.  The interim mail screening facility may continue operations until replaced by a removable modular mail screening facility.

f.  The Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures Division (DS/PSP/WMD) is responsible for establishing countermeasures to protect personnel against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents and to prevent the introduction of hazardous substances into posts abroad.  DS/PSP/WMD will assist posts in the development of best practices in all WMD related matters and will provide mission specific training on mail screening processes for all applicable post personnel.  DS/PSP/WMD is responsible for evaluating and recommending mail screening equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in mail screening operations abroad.

14 FAH-4 H-121.2  Mail Rooms at Posts Abroad

(CT:DPM-33;   11-07-2019)

The Bureau of Overseas Building Operations Office of Design and Engineering (OBO/PDCS/DE) is responsible for the design and construction of mail screening facilities  at posts abroad.  Contact OBO/PDCS/DE's Mechanical Engineering Division for building code requirements.  OBO/PDCS/DE's Interior Design Division is responsible for the Requirements Integration Package (RIP) for mail rooms in new and existing facilities abroad.

14 FAH-4 H-121.3  Domestic Mail Rooms

(CT:DPM-12;   07-31-2014)

a. Bureau mail control officers should conduct a mail room risk assessment in accordance with GSA’s Mail Center Security Guide to determine required mail room design and operating procedures for domestic mail rooms.  Careful consideration should be given to the volume of mail received, the sources of the mail, and the transporters of the mail.  Based on this assessment, cost-effective mail screening procedures should be developed to manage the risk of incoming mail.

b. Mail screening procedures for smaller (less than 20 people), low-visibility mail rooms may be as simple as visually inspecting the mail for suspicious characteristics and having procedures in place to deal with any mail deemed to be suspicious.  Stronger screening procedures may involve x-raying the mail and/or opening each piece of mail within a biological safety cabinet and inspecting the contents of the mail in a controlled environment.  In some cases, such as SA-32, the use of threat detection technologies (chemical, biological, and radiological sensors) may be warranted.  All mail and parcels destined for Department staff and other agencies' personnel sent from unknown or other than known trusted sources, require some level of screening.

c.  Based on the risk assessment, the design of the mail room, required specialized equipment, and standard operating procedures can be specifically tailored to manage the risk.  The Domestic Environmental and Safety Division (DESD) is available to assist bureau official mail managers and mail control officers with conducting risk assessments, designing mail rooms, and developing standardized operating procedures.

14 FAH-4 H-121.4  Military Postal Facilities Collocated at Posts

(CT:DPM-2;   05-06-2009)

a. Military postal facilities collocated at posts must provide a safe and healthy work environment for customers and personnel, as well as secure storage for postal effects.

b. The space required for a military postal facility collocated at posts should be jointly coordinated and configured to provide adequate support to the total population, including family members, serviced by the postal facility.

c.  DOD regulations with square footage charts and structural requirements such as door locks and window bars can be found in Chapter 13 of the DOD Postal Manual 4525.6-M.

14 FAH-4 H-121.5  Diplomatic Post Office Facilities

(CT:DPM-12;   07-31-2014)

Diplomatic post offices, like military postal facilities, are authorized branches of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).  As such, they must meet standards to which the Department, USPS, and the MPSA (Military Postal Service Agency) agreed in their tripartite agreement.  See 14 FAH-5 for a description of facilities requirements.

14 FAH-4 H-122  security requirements

14 FAH-4 H-122.1  Classified Pouch/Mail Rooms

(CT:DPM-30;   05-11-2018)

a. Classified pouch/mail rooms must meet the physical security requirements of a core controlled access area.  See 12 FAH-5 H-455.1.

b. Mail rooms without approved security containers to store all classified material on hand at the end of the work day, based on either volume or size of material, must meet all the physical security requirements of a vault for open storage.  See 12 FAH-5 H-456.2-2 for vault specifications.

c.  Only authorized TOP SECRET cleared U.S. citizen pouch and mail staff are allowed unescorted access to the classified mail room or pouch vault.

d. Classified mail room personnel are responsible for the accountability of all classified items within the classified mail room.  Daily audits should be performed to ensure that all pouch containers are accounted for—either dispatched or on hand.

14 FAH-4 H-122.2  Unclassified Mail Rooms

(CT:DPM-30;   05-11-2018)

a. Unclassified mail rooms must meet the physical security requirements for general work areas (see 12 FAH-5 H-454.2), except that the room must be kept locked at all times to prevent unauthorized access.  Mail rooms should be designed in such a way as to permit hand-over of mail without allowing access to the room.

b. Registered items must be locked in a bar-lock container when the mail room is not staffed.

c.  Seals, crimpers, stamps, postage, and currency must be locked in a bar-lock container when the mail room has no employees present.

14 FAH-4 H-122.3  Authorized Entry

(CT:DPM-21;   03-16-2015)

a. Entry to the classified and unclassified mail and pouch facilities is restricted to only those persons working in these facilities.  Master keys should not be used to open the mail room door.

b. Security personnel are authorized unescorted entry in emergency situations.  All other visitors to the facilities must be escorted.

c.  The post occupational safety and health officer (POSHO) (or domestic equivalent) is authorized unannounced escorted entry to both the classified and unclassified mail rooms in accordance with 15 FAM 962, paragraph g.

14 FAH-4 H-123  mail room safety

(CT:DPM-33;   11-07-2019)

a. Classified and unclassified mail rooms at posts abroad meet the definition of an “increased risk” work area and therefore the POSHO must inspect the mail rooms at least twice a year, per 15 FAM 962, paragraph c.

b. The Domestic Environmental Safety Division (DESD) of the Office of Facilities Management Services (A/OPR/FMS) is responsible for the Department’s domestic safety, health, environmental, and environmental health programs and will assist domestic mail rooms in integrating appropriate safety, health, environmental, and environmental health requirements into mail room operations.

c.  OBO's Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management (OBO/OPS/SHEM) will ensure implementation of applicable safety, health, and environmental regulations for the mail room operations of posts abroad.