Preliminary estimates from federal agencies here indicate that fewer than 200 U.S. workers are likely to be riffed between now and October, the start of the new fiscal year..

This government town that leans heavily on a monthly civilian federal payroll of nearly $800 million has has been hit harder than any other area by RIF orders from Congress and the White House. Nearly three of every 10 U.S. workers fired since October of 1981 have been in metropolitan Washington, which has only about 13 percent of the total federal population.

Between Oct. 1, 1981, and the end of February, 1,573 federal workers here were riffed out of a nationwide total of 4,884.

Nearly 3,000 of the riffed workers were from one agency, the Public Health Service. And 1,800 of them were hired by state and local government agencies that took over PHS hospitals and facilities.

RIF-watchers at the Office of Personnel Management are working up layoff projections based on estimates from individual departments and agencies. So far, it appears that only 194 jobs in the Washington area are now targets for rifs.

Meantime, the Federal Government Service Task Force has come up with a revised RIF kit. It tells agencies what to do when a RIF comes, advises workers on their rights, and even includes a list of local lawyers who specialize in handling rifs and federal personnel complaints.

The task force, headed by Rep. Mike Barnes (D-Md.), is working up legislation that would make it tougher for federal agencies to run rifs until they had exhausted all other remedies, from hiring freezes to voluntary furloughs, to save money.

If you want a copy, contact the task force at House Annex No. 2, Room H2-301, Washington, D.C., 20515.