Don’t Let Rodents Eat Your Profits
Don’t let rodents eat your profits
by David Etherington
The risks involved where rats are concerned is something every business should take seriously. While a rat on a construction site may not be a big issue, a rat in the warehouse or the kitchen of a food premises could lead to the loss of brand reputation, loss of consumer trust, production losses, product recalls, lost sales, disrupted production and compensation claims. However prosecution is perhaps the biggest threat to your business.
Changing the environment and proofing gaps before rats gain access is much easier than trying to evict them after they have set up home. As with proofing to prevent entry to buildings discouraging rats from harbouring too close to your business is also a very important consideration. Ensure overgrown amenity areas are cut back and unsecured food waste is not left out overnight. Doors and windows are other common entry points and must be kept closed at all times. If this is not feasible, a door closure policy should be adopted. Gaps under doors should also be proofed.
Employees should be made aware of the signs of a rodent infestation. Signs of infestation include droppings, odours, damaged packaging, wall discolouration. The importance of reporting these signs immediately should be stressed to all your employees.
Good hygiene practices practices should also be introduced these should include proper waste control and cleaning routines. Stored product should be kept covered and preparation areas should be kept clean. Food should not be stored on the floor or near walls. Food and beverage spills must be cleaned immediately. Food should never be left outside the facility. This means trash should be picked up immediately.
One of the most infamous cases in resent years occurred back in 2009. An oil company worker in the United States reported finding a mouse in a can of Soda. He claimed he got a can out of the vending machine and nearly choked on a mouse inside. After placing the mouse in a Styrofoam cup for display to coworkers, he called the manufacturers. The company stopped production on the offending line, and a representative attempted to collect the dead mouse, but the evidence was gone. Damages in excess of $50,000 were sought. The manufacturers lawyers argued that the man could not have choked on a mouse because the chemicals in the drink would have dissolved it. The defence caused as much brand damage as the incident itself.
After consideration of the above points place the secured baits and/or traps in areas where the rats have been noticed. Check for and remove carcasses daily and continue with the program until no further activity is apparent.
Tracking dust can help identify entry points and runs which will help you decide where to set rat traps and or rat poison and where to proof to prevent re infestation.
Poisons should be secured so that pets, birds and other wildlife can’t gain access as rat poison will kill them as easily as it will kill rats.