We can talk about four main elements for an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan in a decent facility. In this article, we will give more details about the first of these, facility risk assessment. Your pest manager will make a detailed assessment of your facility. However, if you are the plant manager responsible for pest control, you also need to know how to make your own assessment.
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Pests can come to your facility from the neighborhoods around, come with your property in raw materials or packages, or seize your flat in your building. This depends on the type of pest, your location, the structure of your building and the applications inside. Figuring out from which point insects come in and where they live is a very important step in dealing with this problem.
First, look over the area around your facility. Rats, mice, and flies can travel very long distances to look for food and shelter. Therefore, we must also consider the type of business, the buildings around and the surrounding area. Poorly managed facilities provide ideal hiding places and food sources for pests. If such facilities are located close to your facility, you should be prepared for risks in your pest management plan. Watch out for debris, overgrown grasses, large, uncared and uncoated areas, and watery areas that provide shelter and harbor easily. Some businesses, such as farms or waste treatment facilities, are very attractive as they provide plenty of food and shelter for pests.
You cannot directly manage your risk factors for the peripheral facilities, however, there are some simple ways to reduce the corresponding risk. Keep the green areas pruned and discard the trash. As the pests keep entering your facility, they will seek shelter. Thus, regard every structure and object inside as a springboard to enter the facility. To minimize the risk in your property and provide a clean area, keep the plants away from your building, benefit from external imaging stations and reduce the passageways between inside and outside of your building.
When it comes to your facility, you also need to consider the location of the lighting and the locations and designs of the landfills. Your lighting should be such that spiders, such as spiders, are removed from your building. Your lighting can be a guide for flying insects at night. For this reason, placing lights away from easy access points, such as frequently opening doors, helps to reduce pest density throughout the building.
Litter areas can also attract pests, but we can significantly reduce the risk by just making some simple changes in their location and keeping them closed. Pests come to your facility for shelter, warmth and food. The principle of pest protection is to remove them from your facility and restrict their access to these important points. Without them, pests cannot survive and so continue further searches. Another very important thing to consider is the physical condition of your facility. Do your doors and windows block the entry of rodents and flying insects? Are your loading ports designed to prevent the risk of pests? Are there invisible hidden passages where pests can pass through and enter your building such as power lines, ceiling and wall cavities?
Undoubtedly, the past of your pest problems will also be part of the assessment. Some detailed investigations of these permanent problems can reveal some structural and procedural problems that need to be addressed.
You may want to review your supply chain to understand how pests get to your facility. How much do you know about the status of your suppliers' facilities, intermediate warehouses or vehicles delivering to your facility? In some cases, supply chain risks can be more complex than they first appear. For example, there may be subcontractors that serve the company that supplies you with raw materials. Therefore, your information about their establishment may not be enough to see all the potential risks.
Then, you need to go through your procedures. How are incoming goods inspected? Do you have clearly determined policies for the quarantine and disposal of the contaminated product in case you face a contamination problem? Do you follow FIFO (first-in-first-out) procedures?
The hygiene of the facility is important. Therefore, you should have detailed cleaning procedures for equipment that is difficult to clean and for areas where pests can hide. The way you store raw materials, finished products, and packaging materials is also important. The way they are stored can prevent pests from entering and provide an easy inspection. Therefore careful planning and attention are required.
In the event of a pest infestation, you may not be the first pest manager to notice this. It is important that your staff has at least a basic level of knowledge about common pests so that they understand the signs of their actions or existence. Once the pest becomes visible, it is important to have a system that will clearly report this to both plant management and contracted pest management. This ensures that the corrective action is taken quickly.
Your pest management program should also include monitoring tools such as pheromones, light traps, and rodent monitoring stations. The effectiveness of these monitoring is largely determined by their positioning, so they should be carefully planned. Using its knowledge of pest behavior, your pest manager will place them in the facility in the most effective way, based on how they interact with the environment.
Another important factor about your facility's pest management preparation is the pest management records and the status of your reports. The effective pest management program will be described in detail in facility specification and planning. Records of pests, services, product applications, and supporting documentation such as safety data sheet for all products used should be kept. These records can be used not only in auditing but also in building long-term trends to protect and continually improve your program.
Finally, it is very likely that you are in contact with a pest management subcontractor and it is important to make sure that your pest control manager is properly qualified. The relationship between them and your team at the facility should be well planned and documented. The best pest management programs are programs where pest control managers and facility management work well with a common understanding, with the contributions of both parties.
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