pest control

Pests in any work setting can be disruptive but in the hospitality industry the consequences of a pest infestation can be cataclysmic not only operationally, but the reputation of the business can be affected. Pests can be a significant risk to the safety and health of employees and customers who visit the venue. Pests can cause ill health or injury from:

  • Bites and other injuries from direct contact.
  • Illness from contaminated floors and surfaces.
  • Bacterial or viral infection (microbiological hazard).
  • Contamination of the ready to eat products or raw foods.


Pests can be classed as stray cats or dogs, birds, foxes, rodents, insects, and pigeons. Businesses can suffer loss when employees suffer ill health due to infection which is caused by handling infected animals, direct contact with blood, tissues, organs, or urine which are infected or through environmental contamination. Rodents often carry the bacteria which cause Leptospirosis or Weil’s disease. Rats can cause ill-health by transmitting diseases such as typhoid, cholera, cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis, listeriosis, tularaemia, rotavirus, and hantavirus. Mouse pest control is also required because rodents may also carry salmonella in their droppings and may harbour parasites such as fleas and ticks. Flies carry salmonella and or dysentery and birds often carry salmonella and campylobacter bacteria (the most common cause of food-related poisoning) spreading ill-health as a result. Ant pest control and all insects are a problem because they can become entangled in foodstuff during preparation and become a physical hazard within the food served.

Food safety legislation requires employers to ensure that pest control within the business is suitable and sufficient. Whereas health and safety legislation requires employers to protect, so far as is reasonably practicable, their workers and others, from any risk to their health or safety or welfare who may be affected by their business undertaking.

In the hospitality sector, pests are routinely present in the workplace, because of the nature of the work, employers have a duty to eliminate or reduce the risk of injury or ill health to their workers. This means that the control of pests is vital to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers and others.

Measures taken to control pests in the workplace should be acceptable to Health and Safety and Environmental Health Authorities.

How to control pests

Simple means of controlling pests are:

  • Preventing access to an area by installing physical barriers
  • Implementing good waste control arrangement and keeping all surfaces clean
  • Cutting off supply to food sources by locking and controlling access
  • Implementing measures to get rid of the pest problem

Legislation does not require business to contract out the control of pests as long as arrangements are suitable and sufficient. However, in the environment of a fast-paced hospitality venue it is best practice to seek the assistance and specialist advice from a competent person. This is usually done by entering into a contract with a pest control contractor, who can identify your pest control problems and eliminate the problem, as well as manage pest control going forward, so the risk from pests does not impact your business operations.


Documenting your pest control

You should document all aspects of your pest control procedures. Generally speaking this will consist of three types of documentation:

  • You should have documented how you will control pests in your health and safety system and your food safety management system. If you are using the Pilla Document Platform to create this documents, then there is a section which clearly defines how this will be done and who will be responsible for managing this in your business.
  • Secondly, you should be recording the day-to-day checks and controls that your team carry out in order to control pests. This will consist of visual checks on the building structure and the use of pest traps. If you are using the Pilla Management Diary, there is space to monitor your pest control activities, record when it has been carried out and highlight any concerns. If you are not using a Pilla Management Diary, then you will need another way of doing this.
  • Lastly, you should securely record the paperwork provided by any third party contractors. You may use contractors for regular control measures or when you notice increased pest activity – either way it’s important that you take receipt and keep the paperwork provided.