Rat For Lunch

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about workplace pest infestation:

Please could you tell me what the employer’s responsibilities are when a rat has been found in a staff kitchen where we cook on a daily basis?

Signed, No Friend of Rats

Dear No Friend of Rats:

We have answered questions such as yours before. If you had searched our Archives, you would have found what we have recommended in the past. You know what to do. Here is what I sent to an employee in a salon who asked about rats: Rats can carry disease. Surely the manager and owner of your salon would not like for customers to see a rat or signs of rats. Work is hard enough without having to worry about rats. So what should you do? Immediately request that your manager contact a pest control service and/or report the problem to your local health department. The health department is the agency that has legal authority in such matters. Another agency to consult would be the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA). That agency’s website is at: http://www.osha.gov/.

Should you refuse to work until this problem is resolved? That is up to you, but I think you are justified in telling your salon manager that you do not want to come to work until she or he takes action to rid your workplace of these critters. Working together with hands, head, and heart sometimes requires that you speak up. When you do all parties; workers, manager, owners, and customers; will benefit.

William Gorden