While the world continues to grapple with the Coronavirus pandemic, differing global recovery rates are reshaping the way we all go about business. As a result, lockdown restrictions in many countries including South Africa are beginning to ease and under Level 3 restrictions more businesses are able to get back to work. But re-opening your business safely after a prolonged closure comes with a number of challenges.
Recent surveys¹ show that 93% of employers are worried about ensuring that workplace conditions and policies comply with applicable health and safety regulations for re-opening. With many employees returning to the workplace after a period of layoff or working from home, how can employers ensure their employees both stay and feel safe?
Pests prosper during the Coronavirus outbreak
Lockdown (even the more relaxed level 3) has meant that our streets are quieter than they used to be. Reduced footfall presents an ideal opportunity for pests such as rodents to become bolder and braver. They need to, because with less food waste around, other food sources and shelter are vital. Buildings left empty during lockdown are ideal places to take up residence.
Risk hotspots in your building include:
• entry points for pests, such as water pipes and cable lines
• storage areas, where pests can harbour
• kitchens, where pests are attracted by food
• dark places - cracks, crevices, drains, sewers, inside equipment and furnishings - where you could find cockroaches
• office carpets, which could be home to fleas
Rodents and many other pests breed at an alarming rate if left unattended. They can cause damage to property structures, equipment and stock with their constant gnawing, shedding and fouling. Pests also carry many diseases. Rodents, in particular, can transmit diseases with symptoms ranging from mild to serious and life-threatening, such as leptospirosis (Weil's disease), hantavirus, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, lymphocytic choriomeningitis and tularaemia.
Rodents aren’t the only troublesome pests. Businesses spend a global average of $9,000 a year dealing with flies². Cockroaches will eat just about anything organic, including cardboard, tiny amounts of foods and liquids, mould and faecal matter. Droppings and bodily discharge stain and leave an odour that can spread throughout areas and goods.
Stored product insects (SPIs) such as moths and beetles can cause damage to raw food materials and contaminate finished products. Birds foul, cause physical damage and spread disease. Such damage from any of these pests can carry a high financial cost for your business, can lead to reputational damage and may delay the re-opening of a building or business when the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Re-opening your business: what you need to consider
Every business needs to consider the future very carefully. They’ll have to accommodate the increased awareness of health risks as their workforce returns, especially when it comes to positive hygiene practices. As people begin to engage with a changed world of new norms, here are three things to consider before re-opening your business and getting back to work.
1. Has your workplace been disinfected to ensure optimal hygiene?
Surfaces that are touched by the skin, especially the hands, can become hotspot for cross-contamination. If nothing is done to reduce cross-contamination, these frequently touched surfaces will become increasingly contaminated and cause a greater risk of illness in your business.
Before re-opening your business after a pest infestation, you should also ensure that premises are virus-free and the surfaces safe to touch and use again . Our disinfection services eliminate germs by sanitising touch points, surfaces, equipment and floors with solutions that can kill up to 99.97% of bacteria and viruses. To combat airborne pathogens and disinfect large areas in a short space of time, we use Ultra Low Volume (ULV) fogging. You can read more about Rentokil's Specialist Disinfection service here.
For peace of mind, our technicians work quickly, safely and effectively using specialist equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and an approved high-level surface disinfectant. They will deliver a service tailored to the needs of your business and provide total reassurance that your premises are safe.
2. Has your building been proofed against pest infestations?
Let’s take a look at just one of the problems facing businesses – rats. Rats are good jumpers, can squeeze through small gaps and climb along electrical cables or use overhanging branches to get into buildings by any means necessary. They’re good swimmers, too, and will happily swim up damaged sewer pipes or use drainpipes and drainage outlets.
Rentokil provides assistance with a range of proofing solutions to help protect your business from all pest entry. Internal proofing will also restrict pest movement inside, which will limit the spread of infestations. Proofing solutions will:
• fill gaps, whether small or large
• protect cable trays and pipes through floors/walls
• use mesh to prevent rodent entry
• proof doors against heavy infestation
• prevent rodents climbing
• protect entry via loading areas and roller doors
3. Do you have pest control procedures in place to eliminate or prevent pest problems?
Rentokil has a comprehensive range of integrated pest control solutions to protect businesses. Digital pest control solutions like myRentokil offer remote monitoring of pests (you can read more about that here) while a range of non-toxic solutions are available to remove pests safely if an infestation occurs.
We provide our customers with innovative solutions to solve their pest management needs and address common issues associated with flies, cockroaches, fleas, rodents, birds and mammals, including our award-winning Lumnia LED fly-control units. Our tailored services and solutions ensure you have peace of mind that pests are under control, your staff and customers are safe and your business can re-open safely.
Returning to work after a period of lockdown? Download this free checklist to help you return safely, or contact us for more information on how Rentokil can support you with re-opening your business and planning for the future. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with Rentokil pest control.
¹Littler COVID-19 Flash Survey Report, 2020
² The Business Impact of Pests, Rentokil and CEBR Research by Option Matters, 2015