Whether you’re a shop owner or the manager of an entire complex, you’ll most likely want to know that you’re doing the right things by your business – particularly so when it comes to health and safety. So often, companies can come under fire for not having the right procedures in place. It’s the reason we’ve created this guide to pest control in the workplace, to ensure you’re perfectly protecting your workplace as well as yourself and your team.
Here’s what to expect from this article:
- Pests in retail: what to watch out for
- In the workplace: areas to keep an eye on
- The most common pests in the retail sector
- How to safeguard your company from future pests
- Pest control: when you really shouldn’t take any chances
- When should you call in the professionals
In many cases, pest issues in the workplace don’t have a lot to do with inadequate treatment practices. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might still be blighted with rats or cockroaches. Groan!
What exactly are pests?
In short, they’re anything – insects, rodents, animals or otherwise – which prevent a threat to your business, both in terms of health and safety and in general.
All pests are on the lookout for either food, warmth, shelter or a combination of all three – and it’s worth knowing that it doesn’t take much in the way of food (leftovers which haven’t been properly cleared away) to equal a largescale infestation. Simply leaving unwashed food containers and food debris and packaging around overnight could lead to an attraction of pests.
With that in mind, it’s important not to make it easy for pests to find their way in; providing handy hiding places and an abundance of food isn’t going to deter mats and rice. Instead, it will act as a welcome invitation for them to move right in.
So, why do pests present a problem in the first place? Here are just a few reasons why:
- They can spread disease, via pathogens, which can be transferred from the gut or the external surface of the pest itself
- They can contribute to damage of your retail property
- They’ll contaminate food items (if yours is a restaurant or café) or work surfaces – not nice at all, especially if you’re a customer!
- They’re likely to contribute to poor public opinion and or loss of reputation, and…
- in the worst case scenario, they could even lead to prosecution or closure of your business
The fact is, though, retail environments – regardless of their size – can be an absolute haven for a host of urban pests – from rats to mice and everything in between. On top of that, pests can carry diseases too; do you really want them invading your retail space and putting your customers’ health – and maybe even their lives – at risk too? Nip the problem in the bud, however, and you can rest assured that your company – and the wellbeing of your staff – is safe.
You might ask yourself: where do these pests hang out? And the fact is, small and single shop units provide plenty of opportunity for birds, cockroaches and rodents to conceal themselves.
Units like these might be connected by convenient highways of waste, water, heating and electricity – so you’re really giving rats and other vermin the ideal environment from which to reside, although you just might not be aware of it.
In the workplace: areas to keep an eye on
- Stock areas, particularly communal ones
- Refuse areas, whether outdoor or indoor
- Dark, dingy alleyways in and around your business
So by now you’re probably wondering which kind of pests you should be aware of, especially when it comes to your business. To help you, we’ve prepared a quick, at-a-glance list to the most common pests in the retail sector. They are:
- Rodents like rats and mice
Pests, though, aren’t limited to the ones in the list above; they could simply be anything which you don’t want scurrying in and around your business.
We understand that in the highly competitive retail world, your image is not just important; it’s everything. What that means for you then is pests need to be controlled immediately – that is if you’re to uphold a great reputation amongst the public and your competitors.
Retail units are at high risk when it comes to pests, particularly the smaller businesses who may not have the upfront funds to put the necessary preventative steps in place.
How to safeguard your company from future pests
So, what should you do to protect your retail business from pests in the first place?
Damaging stock and causing disruption, a pest infestation can also result in a drop in staff morale. To help you on your way to a pest-free retail business, here’s what you can do:
- Keep your place of work clean – The easiest way to avoid a future pest outbreak is to keep your retail unit clean. Coffee spills or any other foodstuffs left on work surfaces will prove a real haven for any pests. Make sure you keep your shop or unit tidy and wipe up any spills using the appropriate cleaning products. Don’t forget to take out any refuse on a regular basis too; dumping food items in and around your shop is likely to do your business long-term harm. Also make sure that staff are encouraged to keep lids on all food containers – on their lunch or mid-morning snack. Pests absolutely love leftovers and crumbs, so do not allow your team to give them any opportunity to dine out.
- Stay vigilant and pest-proof your business – See a problem arising? Take care of it immediately – before the issue becomes even bigger! It’s worth noting that pests like mice can enter your retail unit through the tiniest of holes. If you have an opening the size of a pen in a hole, be aware that it’s large enough for a mouse to squeeze its way through. It’s important, therefore, to pest-proof your unit at all times; take cost-effective measures to cover gaps with fly screens or bristle strips and halt the issue before it’s too late.
- Stay on top of general building maintenance – Did you know plants are a favourite hiding place for insects and other pests? Keep an eye on any greenery in and around your shop and don’t forget to also check out landscaping and gutters for signs of unwanted visitors. Early detection of pests is absolutely vital so stay on your guard and call in the professionals if you think the problem is too big to tackle yourself.
- Encourage your team to take care, too – It’s the responsibility of everyone to keep a company’s workspace clean and tidy, so why not encourage weekly or monthly incentives for the tidiest desk or shop till? Motivating your staff to stay on top of the cleaning will certainly ensure those pesky pests don’t strike again. Save yourself thousands of pounds in possible lost income by encouraging your team to record any sightings of pests. You should set up a system whereby your team can report any suspicious signs of activity, allowing early eradication and a safe and hygienic work environment for everyone.
No one likes to discover pests in a shop or retail unit, but that initial shock is made even worse when a rodent or cockroach is discovered in a business which sells or prepares food.
The most important part of the food chain from a consumer safety point of view, the food sector is one area of retail which comes with a certain level of responsibility and understanding.
As the owner of a restaurant or café, you’ll be expected to ensure food safety at all times. After all, people are expecting to eat on your premises.
The food retail sector includes:
- Grocery stores
- Shops selling food for off-site consumption
The answer here is immediately! Seriously, don’t take any chances at all when it comes to pests in the workplace.
According to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), attempting to handle pests internally – and therefore not thoroughly alleviating the issue – could lead to prosecution and loss of money further down the line. Put your trust in a member of the BPCA – and rest assured that you’ll be doing all the right things when it comes to pest control for your company.
It really comes down to knowing your limitations, says the BPCA. After all, professional pest control companies have access to specialist products to treat a pest infestation safely and quickly. Don’t leave yourself open to prosecution by attempting to sort out the problem yourself; poor technique and the wrong products could mean you spend more money in the long-run.
Pest control companies usually begin with a full assessment of your retail unit. This is put in place to determine whether any pests are currently present in and around your workplace, as well as expose any vulnerabilities that could lead to further infestations in the future.
A professional pest control company will help by:
- Removing pests quickly, efficiently and safely
- Pest-proofing your retail unit
- Educating your staff on how to spot the early signs of an infestation
- Providing ongoing pest control monitoring
- Offering support services to ensure you can easily maintain a pest-free zone
Focusing on prevention, rather than elimination, pest control companies offer bespoke retail solutions throughout the UK. Perfectly tailored to your company, the professional pest control firm’s procedures will ensure you’ll never have a problem with pests again.
So there you have it; give a pest control company a call today and see how you can safeguard your company when it needs it most.