Rats In The Workplace

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about working with rats:

We have a small problem with rats in our workplace. Do we have to stay and work or can we say that we do not want to with rats around?

Signed, Rats To Rats

Dear Rats To Rats:

Not long ago we have seen television reports of rat infestation in restaurants within several cities. Follow-up investigation found that the problem was not solved. Whether or not you choose to be absent from your workplace because rats have been seen depends on how serious is what you say is a “small problem” and on your own tolerance/anxiety regarding the possibility of them being again sighted. Safety is of primary importance, especially in facilities that deal with food. Therefore, do not hesitate to voice your concern to management and suggest that an exterminator should be hired and/or that this problem should be immediately reported to the local health department.

Several years ago, we answered a question similar to yours and I am copying it: Dear Infested: You should follow you doctor’s advice and report the problem to your local health department. I would make an appointment at the health department and meet with them in person to describe your problem. 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/. I hope these agencies can help. Until this problem is solved, you might take care to keep your coffee cup enclosed in a plastic bag, keep food in the fridge, sanitize your desk area while wearing rubber gloves, and hang your purse somewhere rather than place it where rats might get to it. Refusing to work where there is stench is a bit dramatic, but airing a place out might help get your complaints heard. Let us know what action you take and what comes of it.

Your experiences can help others. WEGO better when not pursued by rodents! *** More recently, we answered another query about rats. See http://workplacedoctors.com/wpdocs/qdetail.asp?id=1222 Please get back to us with what you decided to do about this rat-problem and how it is handled. Working together on practical problems with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. That is to suggest that those of you closest to the problem have a right and a concern to be engaged in solving such problems.

William Gorden