The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has issued advice on pest control for businesses as they reopen to the public.
The trade body is urging companies to ensure they are compliant with legislation and their premises are safe, clean and pest-free as lockdown restrictions lift.
A free online guide ‘Becoming Pest Ready’ is available at the Association’s website and includes detailed advice to help businesses ensure they are ready to reopen.
Head of Technical at BPCA, Dee Ward-Thompson, said: “A vital part of the reopening process for businesses is ensuring their premises are ready for action.
“They have a duty of care to keep environments safe and clean. An integral part of that is ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.
“Legislation such as the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 puts the onus on landowners to control rodent infestations on their premises as well as compelling food businesses to give notice to local authorities if a pest infestation is discovered.
“The Act gives local authorities the power to halt operations and serve improvement notices if an infestation is not dealt with quickly and fully.
The Food Hygiene Regulations are also important; the presence of pests on food preparation surfaces is unacceptable and a local authority EHo will want to see that any occurrence of pests is being dealt with swiftly and effectively.
“All this means that as our economy reopens, business owners need to ensure their premises are checked for pests and pest control maintenance cycles are reintroduced to ensure they are fully compliant.”
Before reopening, BPCA recommends reviewing protocols followed while the building was empty to assess the likelihood of a pest infestation.
There are four points to consider when preparing to reopen an empty building:
- Did you do everything you should and could have done when you closed your business? Secure food storage, working pest management equipment, a thorough clean down and blocking access points such as broken air vents will all help prevent a pest problem.
- Did you keep your pest management supply going during lockdown? If yes, you should be in a good position to reopen safely. If not, a worst-case scenario is returning to discover a pest infestation that has been able to thrive over several months.
- Have you regularly inspected your site for signs of activity? Essential maintenance checks need to include identifying possible signs of an infestation.
- Have you downloaded the BPCA ‘Becoming Pest Ready’ guide and ensured you have all the required measures in place? Working alongside a pest management professional, the guide will help ensure your premises are compliant and ready to reopen.
In the UK a raft of legislation is in place to ensure businesses – particularly in the hospitality and food sectors – work in clean and hygienic conditions, with regulations covering everything from storing and disposing of refuse to managing food waste and controlling pests.
Ward-Thompson added: “Underpinning the implementation of legislation is the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, which expects businesses to undertake regular monitoring for signs of pests and to tackle infestations, as well as keeping records of any incidents and measures put in place to prevent or control pests.
“Our members are professionals who can help businesses prepare to reopen and offer advice on creating a pest control maintenance cycle to help ensure compliance.
“Some of our members also offer remote monitoring, which can be a useful tool if premises are likely to remain empty for a while before businesses can get back up and running.
“Remote monitoring can enhance what your pest controller offers by alerting them if pests such as rats or mice move in.”