MORE than 75 employees who work at the Police Complaints Division (PCD) building, located at Park Street, Port of Spain, fled the premises yesterday morning due to an offensive smell from dead vermin and a fire escape that was not functional.
Besides the PCD, the Police Service’s Crime and Problem Analysis Branch is also housed at the building.
Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke told the Express that when he arrived at the building yesterday morning there was the smell of the dead vermin when he walked in.
He said he told the employees that “something had to be done because I understand this issue had been ongoing for quite a while”.
Duke said there are “quite a few civilian staff working there and this issue affected all workers regardless. It is also the responsibility for the employers to ensure a safe working environment and the employer was in breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) and that (union) members had a right to refuse to work as it affects their health and their safety so therefore no employer could take any action against them”.
Duke added that the building did not have a muster point nor a proper fire escape from the upper floors. He said this too needed to be dealt with before workers returned.
Sgt Micheal Seales, secretary of the Police Social and Welfare Association, explained there was an infestation by rats and other vermin.
He said last weekend a contractor was assigned the task of baiting the vermin, but the bait merely killed the rats and did not dry out their bodies, which led to the smell emanating from where the dead creatures lay.
Seales said the clean-up crew would now have to sanitise the building again and perform an air quality test to verify that the building is fit for human occupation.