Risk mitigation and a call for more female technicians

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Two events sponsored by Pest Control News, published by the Killgerm Group, were held during PestTech 2012. The PCN workshop at 11.30 took ‘Risk Mitigation Measures: Will they change the way we work?’ as its theme, whilst the Professional Woman in Pest Management (PWIPM) gathering heard guest speaker Janet Dixon call for more woman to get involved at the sharp end as pest management technicians.

PCN workshop on risk mitigation

The format for the PCN workshop was three short presentations from Richard Mosley of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), Iain Turner from the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) and Jonathan Peck representing the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s National Pest Advisory Panel (NPAP). Each had ten minutes to outline their organisation’s response to the HSE’s stakeholder engagement on risk mitigation which closed on 2 November. The HSE document – see Pest report – offered a number of options on how to cut the risks associated with the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR) namely difethialone, difenacoum, bromadiolone, brodifacoum and flocoumafen and listed its preferred option as Option 2.

In essence Option 2 will restrict SGAR use to in and around buildings and sewers. This means that if adopted it will for the first time allow the use of the more potent single feed products outdoors. There was a good deal of consensus between the three groups who were kept to time by chairman Dave Oldbury.

Both NPAP and BPCA agreed with the HSE’s preferred option which would allow the sales of these products to both amateur and professional users. NPTA however preferred Option 3 which would restrict the use of SGARs outdoors to trained professionals products to non-professionals. Iain Turner said: “If the government is serious about environmental risk mitigation, single use products should be taken out of the hands of untrained individuals where they cause a risk i.e. outdoors.”

All three felt that further work would be needed to define in and around buildings. Jonathan Peck for NPAP pointed out that the arbitrary five metres which HSE is suggesting as a definition of in and around buildings would prevent conservation projects such as the removal of rats from Lundy island to protect ground nesting birds. NPAP has recommended that there should be no arbitrary restrictions on the distance from buildings and that the existing good practice in which baiting points are based upon the pattern of activity identified from individual infestation surveys should be continued. Richard Mosley pointed out that BPCA members were very concerned about this rule and the impact it would have on burrow baiting which BPCA sees as being vital for control.

Both BPCA and NPAP welcomed the proposed restrictions on pack sizes and concentrations for amateur use and that it is essential that the sale of professional products to non-professionals should be made illegal at the point of sale.

All three found the 35 day limit to a baiting programme acceptable but with the proviso that treatment could be continued where the infestation justified an extension to the programme.

Workshop speakers
The workshop presentation team. Top row, left to right: Dave Oldbury (chairman) with Jonathan Peck (NPAP). Front row: Iain Turner (NPTA) with
Richard Mosley (BPCA)

Workshop audience
On several occassions the large audience was asked to express their opinions with a show of hands

The need to justify and document any such extension was also felt to be a sensible way forward. BPCA and NPTA were both concerned that internal house mouse and external Norway rat programmes were treated in the same way as an internal treatment are unlikely to pose much of an environmental threat.

PWIPM speaker calls for more women in pest control

The Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM) group heard from Janet Dixon of Lancashire-based Kwickill Pest Control who has been working as a practical pest professional for just over 25 years. Janet got into pest control accidentally. She was dragged in by her Dad to help him out in the family business. But that was 25 years ago and she now loves her job!

Calling for more women to get involved in pest management Janet explained how having a female on the team can be a positive advantage in some circumstances. For example, within some communities such as in Jewish households if the PCO was a man, the man of the house would have to be there, but when she goes to deal with such clients there’s no problem and she can deal with the woman of the house!

The next PWIPM meeting will be during PestEx 2013 next April.

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