Do Rats Create A Hazardous Situation?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about rats:

At my workplace there are rats living in the drop ceiling. They have to be going to the bathroom up there and when it rains the roof leaks. Isn’t all of that dripping down into the work area dangerous? Couldn’t it cause mold up there even without the bad roof?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

We are a workplace communication site rather than a workplace safety site. However, there is a need to communicate with someone about your concerns, so we’ll share a few thoughts about the overall issue.Rats and mice are present in many old buildings, rural houses and stores and businesses of all kinds. They can transmit diseases, according to the situation and degree of contact. However, that is something that would need to be determined by an inspector. They also can create fire hazards if they chew on electrical wires.Talk to your manager and ask if an exterminator can be brought in to get rid of the rats. If you’re in an old building or a building near others that are infested it may be very difficult to reduce the population, but it’s worth considering. In one old building with which I’m familiar that number of rats was reduced dramatically over a few months by using live-traps and repairing the areas where rats had gained access. If that isn’t feasible, at least the leaking roof and ceiling could be fixed so soiled water doesn’t drip into areas used by employees. That seems like a reasonable thing to do anyway, to prevent potential damage to property. There is even a potential for a portion of the ceiling to give way and fall, causing injury.

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