Making Good Use of Annual Assessments

Jan 11, 2019, 14:33 PM by Fred Speer

With a new year upon us, it is a good time for facility and QA managers in commercial food processing, storage and distribution facilities to consider performing an annual internal assessment of their pest management programs to make sure they are doing the job.

The commercial pest management experts at Clark Pest Control can perform  a thorough top-to-bottom inspection of a facility to identify potential pest conducive conditions that would attract or provide pests access, make sure the facility’s pest management documentation is in order and assess pest trend data that has been collected over the last 12 months (Note: Assessments can be done anytime during the year to comply with fiscal year dates, compliance events, etc.).

Facility and QA managers should not view an annual assessment like a trip to the dentist. Instead, it should be viewed as an opportunity to achieve the following:

  • Ensure their pest management programs are working to meet both internal and external (i.e. second- and third-party auditor) standards.
  • Identify what, if any, corrective actions need to be taken, what is the schedule for making the corrections and what are the results of those corrective actions.
  • Make sure documentation is in order, complete and audit-ready.
  • Pinpoint areas for improvement going forward.

How do facility and QA managers prepare for an annual assessment? Clark Pest Control encourages clients to keep these key points in mind:

  • Maintain Good Documentation – Accurate and detailed documentation is the only way to verify that the proper pest management processes are being done, when they are being done and what methods are being used to achieve them. If you do not have the proper documentation third-party auditors or inspectors can view it as a sign the corrective action or program requirements did not happen. This will leave your facility vulnerable to receiving a poor audit score or even failing the audit.
  • Types of Documentation – What documentation is needed for your program review and, more importantly, an audit? Key documents include:
    • An overview of the current pest programs, what they are responsible for doing and what pests are being targeted.
    • Service reports listing details on each service visit including date, time and what services were provided.
    • Pesticide usage logs detailing what products were used, where and when they were used, the active ingredient and what type of pests were targeted.
    • Maps/layouts of where pest control devices are located - keeping these updated is important.
    • Pest sighting logs or data collected from remote monitoring devices that your staff uses whenever they see a pest or a capture takes place within the facility; the time, date and location of the sighting.
  • Review Pest Trend Data – With data from pest sighting logs, remote monitoring devices and other reports your pest management service provider can identify pest trends in your facility that require corrective action or a change to your pest management program.
  • Corrective Actions/Program Changes – When your pest management service provider makes a recommendation for corrective action or changes to your pest management program it should be documented. The details of what actions were prescribed and, more importantly, when the corrective actions/changes were taken, should be listed. Following up on corrective actions is a major element in a third-party audit or inspection.
  • Budgeting – Year-end is a good time to make sure money is allocated in the budget to make the necessary physical repairs to support the facility’s pest programs. This includes replacing exterior and loading dock doors, installing new screening for HVAC units and considering installing bird deterrents such as netting and spikes. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandates and third-party audit standards place a heavy emphasis on pest exclusion and prevention, and that starts with hardening your facility’s pest defenses.

If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business and can help you design and execute an effective rodent or insect management program, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.