Eek, mice, mice and more mice

Several schools in the central west have been inundated with mice (and rats) in a plague that has been swarming across the region since mid - 2020.

Horror stories include a member who was bitten on the ankle while sitting at her desk and maggots found on a staffroom table, traced back to a dead mouse found in a staff member’s hat.

Some members have deployed diffusers in their classroom while others are burning incense in an attempt to mask the smell, but in some schools staffrooms are now ‘no go’ areas.

While employers cannot be blamed for the plague, they are still responsible for members’ health and safety in the workplace.

Mice and rats can spread disease. Of particular concern is Leptospirosis, a disease contracted from rodent faeces and urine which can, in extreme circumstances, lead to kidney failure and death.

The virus enters the body via cuts and scrapes that have been exposed to mice urine. Cases that presented to Dubbo Base Hospital have increased tenfold in recent weeks.

Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) legislation requires an employer to take all reasonable steps to eliminate or control threats to members’ health and safety. In this case that would translate to increased cleaning and hygiene supplies.

In short, measures implemented to prevent COVID-19 must be continued or reinstated to control the threat to members’ health where mice and rats are prevalent.

Contact your organiser for further information or assistance.

Marilyn Jervis