Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards/Animal feces and urine

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I have a question about animal feces and urine. I work for a standard cleaning company and on to occasions I have been sent into comes that were covered with animal feces and urine. The most recent house had dog urine littered in the basement.....dog urine sprayed all over the bathrooms and heating vents....on the floors you couldnt walk without sticking to the floor cause the dog urine on the floor.....the smell was just overwhelming. As the clean progressed my partner even found urine in the stove. We phoned our supervisor to refuse the job but in the end we had to clean it anyways. We do not have any gloves or masks. Is this allowed? Are these the type of houses that we have to clean if we are told to or is it against regulations? Just curious. Thank you

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Subject: Animal feces and urine

Question: I have a question about animal feces and urine. I work for a standard cleaning company and on to occasions I have been sent into comes that were covered with animal feces and urine. The most recent house had dog urine littered in the basement.....dog urine sprayed all over the bathrooms and heating vents....on the floors you couldn't walk without sticking to the floor cause the dog urine on the floor.....the smell was just overwhelming. As the clean progressed my partner even found urine in the stove. We phoned our supervisor to refuse the job but in the end we had to clean it anyways. We do not have any gloves or masks. Is this allowed? Are these the type of houses that we have to clean if we are told to or is it against regulations? Just curious. Thank you

Answer: You are obligated to perform the work assigned by your employer BUT the employer is responsible for ensuring you are protected properly against hazards encountered. And in my opinion you would be exposed to potentially serious hazards if exposed as stated in your question. If your employer expects the cleaning done then the proper safety ("personall protective equipment or PPE) equipment should be furnished at no expense to you. That could include overalls which would be impermeable, gloves, respirators, safety glasses and any other necessary to control exposure. The employer is also responsible for the training on how to use the equipment, the maintenance of the equipment etc. To knowingly expect or allow employees to be exposed per your question is flat outrageous! I suggest you contact the appropriate agency at once. Not having worked in your area I am not positive about who to contact but would start with:
  Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre
  Phone: 1-866-415-8690
  TTY Phone: 780-427-9999 (Edmonton) or; 1-800-232-7215 in other locations
  Fax: 780-422-3730
  Email: whs@gov.ab.ca

Be prepared for a very unhappy employer as a compliance person could make things very difficult and it is likely your employer will know or suspect who is involved. This is easy for me to say but my personal opinion is that an employer who would expect this is not worth working for. Please use the agency provided, perhaps they can suggest other sources of help. If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to ask.

Michael Brown, CSP Retired

Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards

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Mike Brown CSP Retired

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I specialize in the professional management of occupational safety and health as well as workers` compensation to reduce losses and improve production and address related issues through a comprehensive approach by senior management using proven principals.I worked for over twenty (20) years in the management of occupational safety, health and workers` compensation and safety training (Retired from employment in 1996 due to a stroke, which prevented the extensive travel required).

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