Do you own a hotel or restaurant? Or perhaps you simply work in the hospitality industry and want to be seen to be taking your role that bit more seriously? Whatever your reasons for stepping up your game when it comes to health and safety, you’ve landed on this site at the right time.
In this informative guide, you’ll find all you need to know about pest control in the hospitality sector – focusing on preventative measures for hoteliers, in particular – as well as some handy hints to put into practice right away. Read on…
What is a Pest?
So, what exactly is a pest? In short, it’s any insect or animal that you don’t want on your premises. More than that, though, it’s an insect or animal that – if found in or around your building – will certainly affect the reputation of your company and threaten your own livelihood.
When you consider that, damage to a building, its fixtures and fittings and even food containers and packaging can come about because of rodents alone, it really is worth putting some steps into place to prevent an infestation.
As a business owner, you are of course responsible for the health and safety of all staff in the workplace – it’s only fair that your team should feel safe at all times.
Employees should always operate safely and they, and the public and the environment should be protected from poisons and toxic chemicals used by your business. After all, those that visit your restaurant or hotel would like to feel safe and secure in order to not just enjoy their experience but give them ample food for thought when it comes to returning.
Pest Control Legislation
There’s absolutely no getting way from the cold, hard facts: if your business fails to meet regulations, you’re putting more than just your reputation on the line.
Pest problem? You could be shut down – and we’re certain you won’t want to have to deal with that.
As a hotelier or restaurant owner, you’re expected to actively control pests under both food safety and health safety laws. It’s your duty of care to provide safe, secure and hygienic premises for your customers and employers and, as such, you may need to employ a team of pest control professionals to put the right steps in place to ensure you’re doing things by the book.
To be effective, your business’s pest control methods should include regular monitoring of your premises (to nip a pest problem in the bud, if needs be), and a survey of the building for maintenance issues, which might lead to a problem down the line.
On top of this, you’ll be expected to act as soon as possible should you think an issue is on the horizon, as well as have a response plan in place when customer reports and complaints start to roll in.
Food Safety in the Hospitality Industry
If you manage or own a hotel or restaurant, did you know there’s legislation in place regarding food safety? So, what do you need to know?
One of the main points is that food operators are required to “prevent animals and pests from causing contamination” by taking “adequate measures, as appropriate”, and where possible.
Companies like yours are also required to confirm to corresponding EU and national laws, too, when it comes to the control of hazards to prevent contamination in the workplace.
Are you, for instance, handling hazardous substances in a way which won’t lead to future pest problems?
Again, it’s about regularly monitoring and inspecting your workplace to ensure there’s no risk of an infestation, before taking the appropriate action – if needs be – to rid your area of work of any pesky visitors.
Aside from this, you’ll also be required to keep records of any instances of pests, as well as make a note of any pest control measures the company has in place.
The Hospitality Industry’s Most Common Pests
Which kind of pests should you be looking out for if you work in a hotel or restaurant? Here are the main ones to keep a close eye on:
Bed Bugs – Clinging onto the bed sheets of hotels, bed bugs are invisible but can cause your customers’ skin to break out in a spotty, itchy rash
Cockroaches – Let’s face it, a cockroach is the last thing you want to see when you’re eating your evening meal at a restaurant
Fleas – Another problem for hoteliers, a flea infestation will certainly give your business a bad name
Flies- No one wants flies buzzing around the kitchen or hotel bedroom, do they? Nip the problem in the bud as soon as possible by using fly traps or handy sprays if required
Insects – Stored product insects can threaten to shut down your business; you can prevent an infestation, though, by simply ensuring food is sealed properly and disposed of correctly.
Rodents – Usually found next to the bin area outside, rats can be a huge problem for hoteliers and the issue here is they can squeeze through the smallest of gaps (a pen top size) and gain entry to your building. Don’t allow this to be the case and instead stay on your guard and get ready to nip a problem in the bud if needs be
Pest Prevention: Some Tips
Want to know how to deter pests from your premises? Here’s a few handy hints and tips:
Store Food and Ingredients Properly – Any food that’s been prepared, or even raw materials and ingredients, should always be kept in the right conditions to prevent contamination from pests
Think About Waste – Food waste that’s been poorly disposed of, and general refuse areas which aren’t well-maintained can be the biggest cause of contamination via pests. Legislation suggests, therefore, that food waste and other non-edible ingredients should be taken out of rooms where food is present as soon as possible. Make sure that if it’s being stored in the kitchen it’s in sealable containers, and that preparation areas are cleaned regularly too.
Ensure Staff Receive Adequate Training – Alongside ensuring you make adequate provision for the clean and safe disposal and storage of food and food waste, businesses must also ensure their staff are clued up when it comes to pest control too.
Staff should be supervised and trained in food hygiene and they should know the basics when it comes to preventing contamination, too – particularly in food preparation areas.
Pest Problems in the Hospitality Industry
So, what can happen if you don’t adhere to pest control legislation? A pest problem – anything from rodents to wasps – will certainly threaten your livelihood, in so much as it might mean you have to close down.
Not sure where to start when it comes to pest control? Here’s what you can do:
- Make sure any gaps and holes are filled in along floors, walls and ceilings
- Ensure windows are closed and tight-fitting
- Make sure that doors are tight-fitting and self-closing
- Inspect food supplies and deliveries as and when they arrive
- Conduct a routine inspection of the building for pests and ensure methods of control – including removal of dead pests – gets underway immediately
What About Poisonous Materials?
Do you need to use poisonous materials to combat an existing pest problem? Make sure they’re stored correctly at all times to keep in mind pesticide law.
When not stored in the right way, poisonous materials can contaminate food, materials or equipment; make sure you always read the corresponding directions for use and storage before purchasing a product. You must also apply the pesticide in an approved way – preventing hazard to employees – and ensure that a certified person is using the product in question.
Did you know, for example, that there are additional specifications for bait stations? They must be covered and be tamper-resident and though you might be tempted to get some, poisonous tracking powder cannot be used in a food establishment.
When Should You Call in the Professionals?
So, how do you know when it’s time to call in the professionals? Of course, you can certainly put a few preventative methods in place in a bid to keep pests away, but what if the problem’s already set in?
Maintenance must he carried out always – from fixing roofs to filling in gaps in doors and walls – to ensure rodents and birds can’t easily access your building and find its way into your food storage or preparation area.
Pay special attention to roofs; these are common routes of infestation from various pests and may be your downfall if you choose to neglect them.
If you’ve considered all the preventative methods out there, yet you still have a pest problem, you need to call in the professionals. Don’t worry, though, as pests and animals will be by the prevention of cruelty legislation. This ensures that, should the professionals you choose need to do it, that are animals are killed humanely.
Got another question? Do not hesitate to get in touch with a professional pest control firm by clicking the link above.