This Safe Work Practice (SWP) will provide YG employees with a set of guidelines or “Do’s and Don’ts” that have been developed to mitigate hazards associated with this work task, as identified through your workplace hazard identification process. All YG employees performing this work task are required to be trained, knowledgeable and competent.
Guidelines: Prevention is the key, so remember the following while working in and around unused buildings and conducting field work where you believe rodents exist.
a) Secure buildings and camps so that rodents cannot get in.
b) Ventilate any enclosed structure that has been unused for 30 minutes prior to cleaning.
c) Wear a NIOSH-approved 100 series filter mask (such as N100, R100 or R100), disposable Nitrile gloves, goggles and washable/disposable clothing, while handling rodents or performing work duties in suspect structures.
d) Wipe down exposed surfaces with a dilute beach and water solution (1:10).
e) Wipe up droppings, nesting materials and other waste with a paper towel.
f) Dispose of droppings, dead rodents and associated material in sealed doubled plastic bags.
g) Always wash your hands with soap and water should you accidentally touch either a rodent or their droppings. It is preferable that employees wear their Personal Protective Equipment (i.e., gloves and masks) when in an area either deemed or suspected to have rodent activity.
a) Do not sweep or vacuum when cleaning a suspected area in deference to wiping exposed surfaces with dilute bleach solution.
b) Do not use a sprayer to apply disinfectant on exposed surfaces.
c) Do not leave open food out in work or common areas overnight to avoid attracting further rodents.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a rare but serious disease that is caused by a virus called Hantavirus. In Canada, the disease is present in wild deer mice, and is spread through droppings, urine and nesting contents. Humans contract the disease through breathing in of dried particulate matter from deer mouse waste.
For more information you can refer to Yukon Communicable Disease Control guidelines: http://www.hss.gov.yk.ca/hantavirus.php
Hantavirus Protection Information Brochure: http://www.hss.gov.yk.ca/pdf/hantavirus_2011_en.pdf