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For facility managers in every setting, whether educational, healthcare, government, retail, multi-family complexes or other commercial or institutional facility, maintaining a safe and clean environment is a core responsibility and essential to ensuring a positive impression with building occupants and management alike. One critical factor in attaining that goal is proactive and effective pest management.
Maintaining careful records concerning pest activity and pest control recommendations is essential for facility managers to ensure and demonstrate that pest activity is not having a negative impact on their standards for safety and cleanliness—or those of their managers, occupants or auditors.
The disadvantages of paper-based recordkeeping systems
In this regard, problems can arise when traditional paper-based methods for documenting pest control activities are used. Paper records typically result in cumbersome log books containing a voluminous number of documents, including inspector recommendations, inspection tickets, authorized product lists, inspector certifications and other documents related to the ongoing pest control program.
Over time, these log books become voluminous, and it can be difficult to find documents when they are needed for an audit or management review. Tracking actions taken as a result of inspection results can also be difficult if the documents are not consistently kept in good order. Moreover, keeping records in order becomes an even bigger problem in situations where records must be kept for multiple site locations. Additionally, with a paper-based records system there is always the possibility that documents will be misplaced or destroyed.
A successful integrated pest management program requires close interaction and cooperation between the facilities manager and the pest control provider. This is the primary reason why moving from a paper-based logbook to an online pest management system is a wise choice.
There are new communication and document management technologies available that are transforming how pest control programs are managed. With an online pest management reporting system, facility managers can get the most from an integrated pest management program, while at the same time reducing the burden of maintaining pest control records.
Seven significant benefits of online reporting
One of the key advantages of an online pest management system is that the pest control technician logs the results of an inspection and any recommended remedial actions electronically at the end of a site visit. That recorded information is immediately visible to the facility manager by accessing an easy-to-read online dashboard. Evidence of pest activity and the details related to any service applications can be tracked by location in the system as well as all inspection recommendations and the status of action steps taken concerning those recommendations.
Seven significant benefits of online pest management include:
1) Accurate, detailed records of pest activity
Dashboard reports identify detected pest species, locations with high levels of activity, and site plans with complete activity history. Instant access to key information is enabled with a pre-populated and personalized dashboard, reporting on single or multiple locations depending on your facility footprint. From the dashboard you can view site summaries, manage recommendations and pest activity, and create proactive email alerts for recommendations.
2) Recommendations to help improve your pest management program
An online pest management system will help you proactively manage improvements to your program by monitoring recommendations from the technician. The facility manager or other designated user can document actions taken on structural, sanitation, or other types of recommendations provided by technicians that become a permanent, time-stamped record that can positively affect the third party audit experience.
3) Interactive site plans to demonstrate your pest management coverage
Site plans can display all the devices and inspection points throughout your site (or sites), graphically showing your defenses against pest infestations. Interactive site plans can highlight areas with a history of activity, assisting with the identification of risk areas.
4) Customized charts can assist you in identifying pest trends
Knowing your pest management risk is a crucial step in preventing pest problems. Having the ability to view, monitor, and report on pest activity and recommendations is critical. This capability will allow you to create and customize graphical outputs of pest activity trends, providing you with a clear view of how improvements in operational processes have affected pest activity.
5) Reports that deliver data directly to your inbox
Tailored reports showing your pest activity, recommendations, and material usage, can be automatically generated and emailed directly to your inbox. You can also schedule exports to be run at various intervals, whether daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly, ensuring that you are always up-to-date with the most critical details that may affect your facility.
6) Multi-site tools to help you manage your entire pest control program
In multi-site applications, look for tools that identify each registered site in your program with pest problems or recommendations across your entire property portfolio. Easily navigate between each worksite and create customizable reports that collate data from each of them into a single document.
7) Proof of service and access to information on pest activity 24/7
The proof of service report captures all visit details a technician records during a visit. The proof of service report can be maintained and viewed online at any time. Additionally, whether in the office or on the move, an online pest management system can be accessed whenever you need it. Solutions are available that include a smartphone app to view pest activity as well as review and interact with recommendations when you are away.
Getting the results you need
Advancing technologies are having an impact on every industry's workflows, and facilities management is no exception. Gaining the ability to access vital data about your pest control program—in real time—through an online database is not only a convenience; it can improve the effectiveness of your facility's integrated pest control program as well as make an audit or other review much more seamless. Moving away from manually maintaining a physical logbook of pest control information to an organized online, on demand pest management approach will not only save time and reduce the risk of incomplete recordkeeping, it will also help you collaborate effectively with your pest control provider to ensure a successful pest control program for your facility.
Chad Gore is Regional Technical Director at Rentokil North America.
Have you seen the new accessibility symbol?
In 2012, the Accessible Icon project unveiled a new accessibility symbol for global consideration. Today, New York State and many communities around the world have embraced it.
If you have not seen the new symbol, it features a completely redesigned figure. The wheels and arms are in motion to better depict mobility. The head and legs have also been revised to meet ADA guidelines and represent a much more able individual than symbols in the past. Previous symbols depicted what appeared to be an immobile individual, with the focus solely on the chair. The Accessible Icon project revised the symbol to provide a better representation of the disabled community, which could replace the current International Symbol of Access. From the tilt of the head to the angle of the arm, its underlying message zeros in on the individual’s movement. The wheel cutouts now feature angled knockouts to give the illusion that they are also in motion.
It’s important for contractors and builders to become aware of this new symbol, as accessibility is an important component in the building process. Within the next few years, legislation may be passed to require the use of this new symbol on future signage throughout the country. In fact, the state of New York passed legislation that requires contractors to use this new symbol on replaced or new signage.
New York also removed the word “handicap” from all accessibility verbiage. For example, reserved lots for the disabled are now known as “accessible parking spaces” in New York. Governor Cuomo said the legislation is “an important step toward correcting society’s understanding of accessibility and eliminating a stigma for more than one million New Yorkers.”
Contractors can begin to integrate this new symbol into their current projects. Various areas that can be modified to feature this accessibility symbol include parking lots, hallways, on doors and more. Contractors can purchase signage for their new projects through registered vendors. This new version of the symbol is also available as a stencil for use in parking lots and other areas. Most vendors have these signs and stencils available and are seeing an increase in the purchasing of them for new areas and to replace existing signs.
The safety of all individuals is important for all contractors and builders to keep in mind. But now with the advancement of technology for individuals with disabilities and more robust medical options, contractors need to reevaluate the needs of the disabled community.
For example, contractors have always integrated accessible features, however, they should now also integrate accessible features for the needs of a more active individual with disabilities. Ultimately, this awareness could trickle down to simple projects such as the placement of an accessible sign to the spot designated for accessible vehicles.
It’s exciting to see how the community will come together to make buildings and facilities much accessible for individuals with disabilities and how signage can impact the way the public perceives those individuals. Using these new signs is a step in the right direction.
Mark Fick is the President and Owner of Allstate Sign & Plaque.
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