Paul Cooper talks about pest control during lockdown

Londoners are facing a tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic and it has brought big changes to our sense of normality. Our Managing Director, Paul Cooper, speaks on the measures London Network for Pest Solutions is taking to protect the health and wellbeing of employees and customers, while continuing to provide an essential pest control service for residents of London.

It was essential for us to continue working. We are based in and do a lot of work across East London, which traditionally suffers from inner city deprivation and high levels of infestation. Our clients are scared of COVID-19, but we still have a duty to protect them from pest infestations too, because left unchecked pests can spread a host of diseases.

Although a proportion of our business is commercial work, London Network for Pest Solutions specialises in domestic work, so most of our treatments are one-off jobs rather than contracts. When the pandemic started to take hold in London, we made the straightforward decision to suspend routine visits to commercial sites (other than visits to external, open-air sites, such as allotments and voids) and only respond to emergency call outs.

This has reduced staff workload and allows us to allocate more technicians to domestic work. Also, with fewer jobs per person, we have greater assurance that technicians will have sufficient time to sanitise their van door handles, steering wheel and gear knob each and every time they access their vehicle in compliance with a new ‘risk-aware policy’ we have adopted. This is partly in response to the situation but it’s also how our industry teaches us to behave in any case.

We carry out a risk assessment based on the facts known to us and take the necessary precautions to minimise risk. Our customer service team has been briefed to ask customers whether properties have confirmed COVID-19 cases present on site, and whether they are self-isolating. This provides our technicians with invaluable information about the circumstances of a job, prior to entering the property. Based on the information provided, customers are also informed that a technician may be required to wear some form of mask and gloves, before they can knock on their door.

Using information on Government websites, we ran a comprehensive training session to ensure all staff knew how to protect themselves and our customers. It was a huge surprise that a good number of people and organisations heard about the success of our training session and reached out to us to seek advice and support. A local authority also approached us to request a daily sanitisation treatment for their eight food service hubs. These are locations where drivers are delivering goods and volunteers are packing boxes with essential supplies, before delivering them to those in need. We got to work and prepared a plan of action that involves a team arriving on site each evening to clean down and sanitise all high-risk touch points.

We also don’t want to be seen to be profiteering from the pandemic, so we made the decision early on reduce our hourly rate by over 50 per cent during lockdown and I am disappointed to see that some companies have decided to charge many times more than their usual hourly rate for the same service. So, when the dust has settled and we return to normality, we can hold our heads up high, knowing that we protected our staff and continued to protect our vulnerable community. Of course, nobody really wants to have to call on pest controllers, but like other essential workers, we want to do our bit and I hope we’ll be able to raise an extra glass to that at our Christmas party.  A toast to a job well done, when it was needed most!

If you would like to learn more about our new sanitisation service and how to reduce the risk of Covid-19 cross infection, contact us here.

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