Latest News from BPCA

23 March 2020

Pest professionals are key workers - here’s why

Those who work in pest management and control are considered key workers in the Covid 19 pandemic.

pest professionals are key workers covid

Last week, the UK Government released a list of key workers who could continue to send their children to school during the pandemic.

While the pest management sector isn’t mentioned explicitly on the list, it is an essential part of many of the other sectors that are listed.

For example:

Health and social care
How can doctors, nurses, midwives and care workers continue to protect people if hospitals and care homes are riddled with rats and mice? We have a duty to help protect the most vulnerable, and those caring for them, from potentially deadly pathogens and disease.

Education and childcare
Schools are still open in order to look after children of other key workers. Children and education staff need safe classrooms, free from infestations to operate from. If a school closes due to an infestation, who is going to look after the children of key workers?

Food and other necessary goods
From farm to fork, pest management is an essential part of protecting our food supply chain. Contamination, waste and disease need to be minimised at all costs during this pandemic. Pest management is an integral part of the supply chain.

Plus key public services, local and national Government, transport, utilities, communication and financial services all tend to have pest management contracts. If any of these key industries are affected by an infestation during the pandemic, there could be catastrophic disruption to services.

What about domestic work?

There may be a few situations where an active pest infestation in a domestic property might outweigh the risks of spreading Covid 19 if mitigation measures are put in place.

You’ll have to take into consideration the likelihood of someone coming to harm because of an infestation, especially if people are typically at home for longer periods.

Also, with people being mainly homebound for potentially months, what effect will an infestation have on their mental health?

You should only do domestic work if you can significantly mitigate the risks.

A thorough risk assessment must be conducted and recorded to weigh up the risks to the client and your staff.

Ensure mitigation is put in place for any domestic work you consider essential.

Make sure your risk assessment is signed by you and your client.

See our guidance on Should I keep trading/go out on a job?

What jobs are considered crucial

This will be down to every individual company and their client to decide for each individual job.

You must always follow the latest Government advice on Covid 19.

The highest priorities are:

  • Protecting our nation’s food from farm to fork
  • Protecting other essential workers in hospitals and supermarkets
  • Protecting the vulnerable and sick from further exposure to diseases
  • Protecting the distressed from the mental anguish of an infestation.

See our guidance on Should I keep trading/go out on a job?

What should you do?

Act as if you are a key worker. Because you are.

Follow all Government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene. Make sure you’re properly assessing all risks to yourself, team and clients. Ensure you mitigate the risks.

If in doubt, don’t go on the job.

We’d rather that pest management was explicitly written in the Government guidance. However, there is plenty of evidence in the guidance that points to pest management being considered a crucial sector.

At the moment, schools and local authorities have the responsibility to interpret the guidance issued by the Government and allocate places to children of key workers.

If you’re a BPCA member, we have a letter template to help you do this.

Why is this even important?

If you or a member of your team has children and you don’t have alternative child care available to you, then you will have to rely on your key worker status to provide schools or local authorities with evidence that will allow your child to continue attending school and you continue to work and protect public health.

IF the UK goes into further lockdown, where only key workers are allowed to leave their homes, then pest management will need to be widely recognised as a crucial sector. It is likely that when lockdown happens key workers will be issued with physical permits that will need to be shown to get to work etc.

What we want

We want the Government to update their guidance and explicitly add pest management to the list of key workers.

How we’re doing it

We’ve explained in letters how important pest management is during the Covid 19 pandemic. We’ve written to:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson
  • Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • Michael Gove MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  • Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
  • George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Brandon Lewis MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
  • Alister Jack MP, Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Simon Hart MP, Secretary of State for Wales.
  • Public Health England
  • Education minister for England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

We’ll be using all our influence to get the official guidance changed to explicitly include pest management.

We’re also writing to all local authorities, explaining why pest management professionals are key workers.

How can you help?

Write to your MP. You can see our letter to the Prime Minister here.

Keep yourself, your team and your clients safe.

Read our guidance on how to keep you and your clients safe.

Source: Online

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