We’ve seen it happen a lot. Employees get upset about a bat problem that isn’t being solved by management quickly enough.
What we tend to not think about, is that employees do have other courses of action they can take. So, what happens when your employee goes to the department of health about a bat problem? Let’s discuss.
The Department of Health and Bat Infestations
The Department of Health is a useful entity for the modern world. Thanks to strict government regulations, we have clean air, clean drinking water, sanitary streets, and much more. I think they get a lot of bad publicity for being “the bad guy” and cracking down on people that don’t stand a chance against the government wheel.
Part of their duties, is to protect the public from potential health threats. And after all, a bat infestation in the workplace is definitely a health threat. Bats can carry rabies which is still considered 100% fatal. The mess they leave behind (urine and guano buildup) also carries the risk of people contracting histoplasmosis.
With these known health risks, it is reasonable to see them act when a worker is put in an unsafe or unhealthy environment. You wouldn’t want your kids, your mom, or your dad to be forced to endure such an environment day in and day out, would you?
So what do they actually do when an employee contacts them with a concern? Here are a couple scenarios we’ve seen happen:
- They will contact you and it will get resolved very quickly. They want to discuss what is really going on and what steps you may or may not have taken up to this point. This step is why we mentioned documenting everything you are doing in our previous blog Bats in the Workplace: Employer Edition. If you have been taking appropriate steps and documenting what you are doing, this will literally just be a quick conversation, they may ask for your documentation, they may do a follow up call, and then they will close the complaint.
- They will contact you and determine a significant health risk to the public or your employees. This is a dramatic situation that is entirely dependent upon what type of business you run and how bad the bat infestation is. We witnessed this scenario first hand at a hospital that was shut down for a bat infestation. Obviously, a hospital poses significant risk to life if a bat infestation is not handled appropriately. That doesn’t mean your scenario would be different though. That is up to the health department to determine, not you or I.
- They will contact you multiple times and determine you haven’t been handling the situation correctly. This scenario poses many different ways that you can be affected. In the example I’m thinking of, we were called in after a tenant had called the department of health 17 times in one month. (Yes, you read that right, 17 times.) See, the problem is, the property manager and the HOA board for the community weren’t really addressing the bat infestation. So the tenant kept calling. And the more the tenant called, the more annoyed the workers at the department of health got. They got so
annoyed, in fact, that they CONDEMNED her entire apartment. This meant the HOA now got to foot the bill for fixing the bat issues, doing a disaster cleanup on her unit (because the situation had spiraled out of control, the department of health went above the standard cleanup), and paying for her and her son to live at a hotel for a month while this process was being completed. Oh, and the tenant didn’t have to pay rent for three months while this fiasco was going on.
Those are just three scenarios I can give you examples for off the top of my head. Will your situation go exactly like one of those? Probably not. But, if you’re doing everything you should be to address your problem and documenting it, you will definitely have an easier time should an employee contact the department of health about a bat problem.
Here’s my best piece of advice for you when dealing with a bat infestation in a commercial setting, don’t wait.
It’s as simple as that. Call us today for your free consultation. We’re here to help and we have the experience and knowledge to do so.
Your local bat removal specialist,