The subject of pest control is not one that FMs are often (ever) keen to talk about publically. Having an infestation of rodents, insects or something else furtive and slimy is hardly the sort of thing you boast about. That being the case FMJ looks at what you can do to prevent the problem ever arising in the first place
Since the birth of facilities management as an industry, technology, innovation, improved training and a thousand other things have revolutionised the sector. Cleaning, security, catering, all are more effective and more efficient than they were in previous decades. Pest control is no exception.
Though far from the most glamorous part of FM it still sees its fair share of invention and modernisation. New skills and equipment as well as updated legislation are continually driving improvement, meaning that FMs have a fighting chance of not just dealing with pest problems quickly, but preventing them to begin with.
Peter Trotman, managing director of Mitie’s pest control services outlines the benefits of real-time, intelligent pest management, which he says is essential in successful pest control. In no small part because of its legal benefits.
“Online systems are transforming pest control for the FM sector, providing real-time information, reducing risk, optimising hygiene, and meeting and exceeding the standards expected by safety auditors.
“Facilities managers are required by law to uphold the highest hygiene standards and prevent pest contamination. Lack of due diligence in this area can lead to enforcement action, so maintaining good records of your pest management activities is not just good practice – it’s vital.
“Having evidence of an effective pest control strategy can also help in your defence in case of prosecution, which is why it’s important for companies to invest in the best appropriate technology for the job.
The traditional approach of keeping records in paper files can render you unable to demonstrate due diligence. The problem with any paper-based system is that it tends to reside in a folder on a shelf, needing to be regularly updated by site staff and signed off by senior management. If records of preventative measures, pest incidences and control actions are not kept up-to-date, your company could ultimately be exposed to legal proceedings or, worse, experience an audit failure.
“It has been demonstrated that an online system changes behaviours, as the focus shifts from reactive pest control activity to pro-active prevention, leading to better risk management.”
But once you know that your backside is well and truly covered, how do online systems actually help in getting rid of pest problems? Trotman continues;
“This is where the latest IT-based systems come into play, with reporting systems that monitor pest management activities, give recommendations, measure compliance with legislation, and importantly act as evidence of compliance to third party auditors. Since these systems are online, they can be accessed and monitored by management on PC or mobile devices, giving total control over pest risk.
“For example, Mitie has developed Pest alert, a bespoke IT-based system which provides a dashboard showing the status of all monitoring points, a history of pest activity and easy to download reports and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for 24/7 monitoring of pest control.
“Each time a pest control technician visits a client’s site, they record findings and recommendations, listing any actions to be taken. The technicians can also add photos which are automatically uploaded and locked within the report, supporting future actions.
“Online systems are also the best way to prepare for inspections and provide easy-to-access storage for all insurance certificates and supporting quality management documentation.
“Operating intelligently and seamlessly, such systems are able to provide evidence, at a moment’s notice, of all incidences, actions and preventative measures. Management can be reassured that they are in control of pest management across all sites, and a simple alert system means there are no surprises.
“The benefits of an intelligent approach to pest management don’t just stop at record keeping. By using an online portal, facilities managers can have direct online access to their pest control technicians, with a ‘chat’ function allowing managers to confirm specifications or request work when it is needed.
“Other IT-based tools for effective pest control include automatic sensors for rodent traps, which send an alert with the precise location to the main computer system. This enables a rapid response and means companies can keep a proactive track of pest risk across all their properties.”