Cutting corners in business is usually not the best idea. With pest control, the risks and consequences of trying to save money here can be substantial. Yet, despite the potential dangers, some business owners still neglect commercial pest control.
Summer is upon the UK, and most people are enjoying the warmer weather. With hotter weather comes more pests. To the average person, this usually means ants invading the home or midges. But, businesses need to be more aware at this time of year as pests become more active.
Regardless of the season though, businesses should neglect pest control at their peril. The risks and consequences of neglecting commercial pest control are real, and the true cost may be higher than you imagine.
What Happens When Commercial Pest Control is Neglected?
There can be severe legal ramifications for poor pest control in commercial operations. Pest control for commercial businesses is necessary to protect workers’ and consumers’ health. Many pests carry diseases, and in some cases, these are potentially fatal.
The UK government requires businesses to reach certain standards in health and safety. And businesses that are involved in healthcare, hospitality, or food, have to comply with strict regulations.
Below are six of the consequences facing any business owner that neglects pest control.
1. Damage to Property
Some pests are simply a nuisance. Midges and gnats do little more than annoy people trying to enjoy a warm evening in the garden. But, some pests cause serious damage.
Termites are perhaps the most destructive, and although they are thankfully not common in the UK, they have been found. Although the only termite infestation was eradicated.
However, rats and other rodents present serious problems to structures. Rats in particular need to constantly gnaw. This leads to serious and costly damage to buildings.
If your business is attractive to rodents, then you could find yourself with an infestation quickly, and the consequences can be dire.
2. Closure or Suspension of Operations
If contamination occurs, or a business fails a hygiene inspection, it could be closed down. This is usually only temporary but it will lead to a number of consequences including loss of revenue and potentially its market share.
It may also lead to a loss of reputation and trust from consumers. Many restaurants and takeaways that have temporarily closed due to pest problems have never fully recovered.
In the UK, there is a hygiene rating system that scores establishments that serve food and refreshments. Health and safety in the workplace extend to hygiene and food standards in certain businesses.
Poor pest control will lead to a low score or enforced closure. While no English business is compelled to show these scores, many consumers will be put off by businesses with a low score, or the absence of a rating.
3. Penalties and Fines
Not only will poor pest control lead inevitably to hygiene concerns, but it may also end up in court. There are strict laws surrounding pest control management in commercial operations. For those that flout these requirements, stiff penalties await.
Large companies could be fined as little as £100. Yet, the upper limit is £3 million. Being fined thousands for neglecting pest control could be crippling for many businesses.
4. Employee Dissatisfaction and Low Morale
Clean work areas lead to higher employee productivity and impact staff morale. Poor cleaning and maintenance will attract pests and hurt productivity.
Unclean work areas that attract pests will also lead to health risks among staff and visitors. Pests are a health hazard and consequences may range from allergic reactions to upset stomachs. In some cases, serious illness may occur.
Pests in the workplace may lead to an increase in absenteeism and a drop in staff retention.
5. Potential Health Risks to Customers
Just as costly as putting your employees at harm, is the risk to your customers. Businesses involved in any form of hospitality thrive on their reputations, and some die too.
Hotels need to be particularly aware of pest problems as they face added dangers. Many hotels have restaurants and serve food. But, they also provide rooms for patrons to sleep in. Not only do hotel owners need to contend with pests in the kitchen, but also be aware of bed bugs and dust mites in the bedrooms.
Cockroaches represent a health risk to humans as do rodents. Bed bugs aren’t dangerous but any hotel that gets infested will see a drop in clientele as word gets out.
6. Loss of Reputation
As mentioned before, such pests as bed bugs will damage a good business’s reputation. Indeed, these pests cause more damage to commercial operations than they do to hotel guests.
With online reviews being increasingly used to gauge the reputation of a business, scathing comments on the web about pests will cause untold reputational damage. Remember, these reviews stay online forever.
Trust between consumers and any type of food-related business is a must. Trying to salvage a restaurant or hotel once the public discovers an infestation has occurred may be nigh on impossible.
7. Contamination and Loss of Product
Businesses such as food processing plants have to uphold strict pest control management. If a pest contaminates a batch of food it will have to be destroyed. In a restaurant, this can be costly, but in a commercial processing plant, the lost stock could run into thousands of pounds.
Destroyed stock will lead to delays in production and this will affect supply and could lead to loss of customers.
What are the Danger Areas That Businesses Should be Aware of?
When businesses look to cut costs, they may decide to either outsource certain tasks or bring them in-house. Removing commercial cleaning services may improve cleanliness, but it may also lead to understaffing and poor hygiene.
Similarly, trying to DIY pest control will inevitably lead to problems. Many legal aspects of pest control need to be adhered to. This is why some tasks shouldn’t be neglected.
Pest control experts know which signs to look out for, and which areas might present access points to pests. Professional pest controllers will use methods to eradicate infestations, but also put into place suggestions for preventative pest control.
Things such as spills lead to mold, and any leaks or damp areas will attract pests. Holes and gaps let pests in, and the tiniest of spaces will allow rodents to move in. Waste, rubbish bins, and food sources will all appeal to pests.
Certain businesses such as takeaways and restaurants need to be highly aware of waste food and unsealed containers. Preventing pests from entering, or removing the things that attract pests, is often easier than removing an infestation later on.
The health hazards that pests represent are real, and they can affect employees as well as consumers. Business owners have a legal responsibility as well as a moral one to implement effective commercial pest control management.
Fortunately, the UK is largely free from some pests such as termites. But, the country’s businesses still face numerous pest problems, especially as the weather heats up.
Inspections and preventative pest control may stop problems from ever occurring, and the rewards from this are far more attractive than taking risks by cutting corners.