Pest control legislation for the hospitality sector
Legislative requirements for food safety and the control of pests impacting guests
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Pest control is important for hotels on several levels. Customers expect to have an enjoyable stay in a pleasant environment and be safe and secure whether they are in a hotel room, bathroom, lobby, restaurant, bar, gym or other facilities in the hotel.
As a business, hotels have a duty of care to customers, employees, contractors and other people on their premises. This means pest control activities must be carried out safely and legally, by qualified professionals — even if it is by your own staff.
Hotels have to comply with a range of laws and regulations: health and safety laws, food safety laws and environmental laws. In addition, some animals that can be regarded as pests are covered by wildlife protection law.
The most expensive way to deal with pests is to do nothing until an infestation arises! You can minimise pest control expenditure by being proactive:
The most important step a hotel can take is to ingrain pest control into everyday practices by adopting IPM — integrated pest management. It is actually a concept used across many industries, first adopted in agriculture, as a common-sense approach to controlling pests that emphasises prevention.
IPM controls pests more efficiently, more effectively and with a minimal use of toxic chemicals, so is also safer for people — both customers and staff — and the wider environment. There are four major components to an IPM programme:
Train staff to recognise the signs of pests and make pest monitoring a part of everyday procedures, especially:
Standard procedures should include taking guests out of infested rooms and closing the rooms until the pest has been eliminated.
For bed bugs this can mean closing adjacent bedrooms — including above and below — to make sure they have not already spread through the building structure. Find out more how to check for and eliminate bed bugs.
Don’t attract pests!
The best way to prevent pests is not to attract them in the first place. All pests need food and shelter, so if you make food freely available they are likely to smell it and come to eat it — flies and cockroaches see even drips and crumbs as decent-sized meals!
Rats, mice, cockroaches and flies all need to stay close to food sources, so if you keep providing food for them they are likely to take up residence in your hotel and become unwelcome guests.
The major measures to prevent pests in hotels are:
Customer experience and business reputation are all important for hotels and can be damaged in an instant through social media. This can rapidly multiply the overall cost to the business through loss of customers.
Turn a bad customer experience into a positive one by taking extra measures to sort out the problem to the customer’s satisfaction.
Have a plan in place to deal with customer reports and complaints about pests effectively, politely and quickly. It is often not the incident that upsets customers the most, but an inadequate response from the business.
The most efficient way for a business to prevent pests is to have a good relationship with a professional pest control company.
A professional service can: