Rats In It

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about rats:

Should your work area be closed when you find rats in it?

Signed, #NAME?

DearĀ #NAME?:

I can imagine how disgusting and frightening it can be to see a rat run across the floor of your work space. Did you experience this? If so, what did you do about it; report it? If you supervise/manage a work area in which rats roam, do you wonder if you should close your business until your four-legged critters are terminated?An answer to your question hinges on its type of business and proof you have that rats are there. A restaurant should close until rats run about no more. A food processing plant must fight such invaders, but might not close immediately upon learning of those visitors. OSHA, upon finding rats in such businesses could close them.

Our site addresses communication questions, and we aren’t experts in safety matters. However, common sense dictates that your workplace should be clean and that employees should not have to share their workspace with rats. I’ve copied my answer to a similar question: http://workplacedoctors.com/wpdocs/qdetail.asp?id=1496 Question: I work in a hairdressers and the salon is riddled with rats all over in the ceilings walls and in our colour room. Is it still safe for me to be working there with the rats? Signed, Is It Safe?Answer: Dear Is It Safe? 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