Ensuring Rodent-free Reopenings
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging companies to ensure they are compliant with legislation and their premises are safe, clean and pest-free with the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
A free online guide published under the title, Becoming Pest Ready, is now available at bpca.org.uk/pestready.
Head of Technical, Dee Ward-Thompson, explains: "A vital part of the reopening process for businesses is ensuring their premises are ready for action.
"In the United Kingdom, 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 as the presence of pests on food preparation surfaces is unacceptable and a local authority Environmental Health Officers 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.
A raft of legislation is in place to ensure UK businesses - and, particularly, those in the hospitality and food sectors - operate clean and hygienic premises. These cover everything from storing and disposing of refuse to managing food waste and controlling pests.
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.
Technology, and remote monitoring in particular, can enhance pest control by alerting building owners and operators when rats or mice move in.