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06 December 2018

An interview with a London foot operative

Business practice | PPC93 December 2018

We caught up with Nick King from Beaver Pest Control, to find out what it’s really like to be a foot operative on the streets of London.

You can see the new Code of Best Practice for Pest control foot personnel in the documents section of the website

An interview with a London foot operative

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’ve been working in pest management for 14 years now, all of which has been as a ‘footman’ and all around London. My patch ranges from Chinatown to Liverpool Street.

What’s the biggest challenge for you as a foot operative?

Organisation! You’ve got to be organised so that you don’t carry too much in your bag. You’ve got very limited space, unlike a van. Oh, and nothing tests you more than getting around when there’s a tube strike!

What are the best and worst things about being a foot operative?

The best thing is definitely never having to think about parking or traffic.

Even though you have only to carry what is needed for your jobs that day, the physical requirements over long periods can be hard. Even more so on especially hot days. Comfortable clothing and good footwear is a must!

What typically do you have in your bag?

Only what I absolutely need for the day in an effort to keep the weight of the bag down. That’s why you need a proper, well thought out plan for the day. I always have a few basics - tools (screwdrivers etc), resealable products, product information, my PPE and properly labelled pesticides. And a big bottle of water! It weighs around 15kg, but this can go up if a sprayer is required.

Some premises provide a safe store so that heavier equipment and non-pesticides can be left there for when needed.

Can you tell us about one of your more memorable jobs?

While cleaning a hotel drain to remove drain fly larvae, we found the main interceptor was missing and had become blocked. While holding the torch for drain engineers, the blockage let loose then shot out covering us all in waste. The trip home was smelly, but at least I got a seat to myself!

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Source: PPC93

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