OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health




Our blog is based on a very dangerous health hazard right on campus, of which we are sure is oblivious to most of the students, staff and other individuals that occupy and traverse this space on campus. This risk was brought to the attention of the group by group leader Melissa.

One day on campus, on her lunch hour, she went to purchase lunch as she usually does, she decided to take a short cut through SAC. Student Activity Center. This area is mostly used by the students of the University. They use it for numerous activities, such as playing games, studying, to have lunch, relaxation, etc.

Whilst trekking through the narrow corridor which is used by many students, she noticed that the floor was badly stained and messy. Thinking that the cleaners probably didn’t do their jobs well she continued on her merry way. This had her quite baffled for some days every time she passed there to get lunch. The mess always seemed to be there, as if no attempt at cleaning is ever made.

One Day she decided to look up and to her shock and dismay, there was hanging from the ceiling, a small colony of bats. Therefore all this time the matter built up on the floor was actually bat feces. It was only when she highlighted what she had discovered did the other group members realize that they too had seen those signs, however they were unaware as to what it truly was. This is an area where students frequent on a daily basis.

                                                                Heath Effects of Bats Droppings

IMG-20151007-WA0009Bat droppings also known as guano, can have adverse effects on the heath of who ever come into contact with it. This highly contaminating matter can cause a host of diseases. One such disease is Histoplasmosis, this disease primarily affects the respiratory system, in particular the lungs. Left untreated this ailment can be fatal. Histoplasmosis is contracted when a fungus that lives within the fecal matter contaminates the soil and other areas where the feces falls, whenever it is disturbed, spores are released into the air which are inadvertently inhaled.



Other Diseases Caused By Bats

IMG-20151007-WA0007Another very real possibility of being near to bats, is the contracting of the deadly rabies disease. This can occur when a person is bitten by a contaminated animal or simply by coming into contact with the saliva of one of these flying rodents. The disease can also be transmitted by other animals such as dogs, cats, foxes, raccoons etc. In their natural habitats such as caves and abandoned mines, human contact is rare and would only occur when people visit or work in these caves. When these animals leave their natural homes and inhabit developed spaces used by humans, is when problems arise. Issues such as this should be of great concern to OSH practitioners, administrations and general public alike.



Treatment for Rabies

When a person is exposed to rabies, timely administration of a vaccine known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can prevent infection. Once a person becomes infected and symptoms begin to occur, rabies is almost always fatal. Each year in the United States, up to 30,000 persons receive PEP due to potential exposure to a rabid animal, including bats.

The link below is a short film which highlights the risks associated with bats and the excrement they leave behind




2 thoughts on “HANGING OUT IN SAC!!!

  1. This is definitely an enlightening contribution, which should be shared with appropriate administration personnel, including the facilities staff. Your pictures give us added clarity of what you have described, and the video also adds value.
    You have highlighted several concerns, but I was wondering what types of hazards were involved. Only biological? Or were there chemical, physical, and other hazard types? Also, what ideas about severity and likelihood of risks as well as mitigation/ control of hazards?


    • Mrs. Balkissoon
      This plight was definitely brought to the attention of the persons in charge. An email was sent to an OSH representative at the office who intern will bring it to the attention of the OSH offices on campus.
      To answer your questions. There are more hazards than just biological. There are also physical hazards, that is, the actual bat dropping can cause a slip and fall hazard. As you can see in the pictures, the bat had a lot of dropping on the floor area. This area is mainly used as a passage way.
      According to my collogue Ms Louise Dover, proper lighting in the corridor area can help in the mitigation factor for the bats. According to (Dr Jenny Jones May 2000) All bat species are nocturnal, resting in dark conditions in the day and emerging at night to feed. Floodlighting disrupts the normal 24-hour pattern of light and dark which is likely to affect the natural behavior of bats. Light near a roost access point will delay bats from emerging and shorten the amount of time available to them for foraging. Bright light may reduce social flight activity and cause bats to move away from the light area to an alternative dark area. Illuminating a bat roost creates disturbance and may cause the bats to desert the roost


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