Health & Safety

Health Alert Reminder: Presence of Rats In the Workplace

Dear Fellow Members,

Some buildings/offices/workplaces on the Burnaby campus continue to see incursions by rodents. The increase in the number of incidents of live or dead rats in the workplace was noted initially last fall. Although the reports of sightings and evidence of rats in the workplace have decreased, the problem is still prevalent and concerning.

It continues to be important for all members to understand the potential health and safety risks involved and to understand your rights.

No one who has not been trained or who is not properly equipped should attempt to remove or touch a dead rat or any rodent.

No one who has not been trained or who is not properly equipped should attempt to clean up feces from rats or any rodent.

Both of these actions can be potentially detrimental to your health.

If either a dead rat or feces are found in your work area, you should immediately inform your supervisor, and Facilities Management should be contacted. Cleaning services should also be contacted immediately so that the area can be cleaned.

Only the contracted pest control employee(s) can remove the animal remains and only specially equipped and trained staff can clean up rodent feces or clean an area following removal of a dead rodent.

It is also important that you request that your supervisor temporarily move you (and all staff) out of the office or work area until the rodent remains or feces are removed and the area cleaned and sanitized by authorized personnel. WorkSafe BC has confirmed with the Union that exposure to such conditions in the workplace is a health risk.

If there are difficulties with relocation of your workstation, removal of dead rodents or clean-up contact the Union Office or your Shop Steward immediately.

If you have any questions or concerns about the process outlined above, about the presence of rats in your workplace, or any health concerns due to the presence of rats in your workplace please contact the Union Office or a Union Representative.

In Solidarity,
Joann Field
President, CUPE 3338