Latest News from BPCA

03 February 2021

HSE issues advice on Covid-19 disinfection services and warns of legal consequences

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued guidance on disinfecting using fog and mist during the Covid pandemic.

Advice on disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems during the Covid-19 BPCA updated advice for pest control

All pest management companies carrying out these services should pay close attention to HSE’s advice.

Around this time last year, BPCA released a position statement on disinfection services. Our position remains the same; we recommend you proceed with extreme caution. 

Before offering these services, you must:

  • Check that the technicians carrying out these treatments are fully trained to do so
  • Check your insurance covers you to offer this service
  • Use disinfectants following the label instructions
  • Have your contract/terms and conditions checked with a legal advisor
  • Read the advice on the Government and British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) websites.

The BPCA Technical team is not able to give specific advice on disinfection services for Covid-19 as this is out of our area of expertise. Disinfecting following a pest infestation and for a virus have important differences.

Key advice by HSE

Cleaning premises using fog, mist or UV treatment

HSE say fog, mist, vapour or UV (ultraviolet) treatments may be suitable options to help control the spread of coronavirus, by cleaning and disinfecting a larger space or room. 

They broadly agree with our position statement and remind users to talk to your suppliers about the appropriateness of products. 

The product you use will depend on:

  • The size of the area you're treating, its shape and how easily it can be sealed off while delivering an airborne product.
  • Whether there are hard or soft surfaces 
  • The sensitivity of a site – some areas may be better suited to UV surface treatments.

Any equipment used to deliver the disinfectant by these means must comply with the relevant UK law – the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations.

The law on disinfectants

HSE has warned of crucial legislation relevant to disinfection services:  

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you are using the product safely and effectively
  • Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) employers must ensure substances which may be harmful to people’s health from their work activities are identified and assessed, and processes are put in place to eliminate or control risks
  • COSHH also requires employers to provide information, instruction and training for all their employees who use hazardous substances such as disinfectants in their work, including the appropriate precautions and actions employees must take to safeguard both themselves and others in the workplace
  • Disinfectants used to control/kill harmful organisms such as bacteria and viruses are biocides and need to comply with the Biocidal Products Regulation concerning the supply and use of biocidal products.

Rules on advertising disinfection services

HSE explicitly warns about misleading advertising of biocidal products, notably:

  • The risks from the product to human health
  • Animal health or the environment
  • Efficacy.

Advertising for a biocidal product should not mention ‘low-risk biocidal product’, ‘non-toxic’, ‘harmless’, ‘natural’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘animal friendly’ or any similar indication.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Read the full HSE guidance here

Final thoughts

Above all, do not try to be something you’re not. If you’re unsure about offering these services, don’t do it. 

Offering services and making claims that you can’t deliver on is bad for your business and the whole pest management sector. Worse, during this pandemic, you could be seen as profiteering, which could have legal and reputational costs.

Further reading

Source: Online