If your business is BRC accredited, or you are currently working towards BRC accreditation, you will most likely already know that comprehensive pest control is an important element of the award criteria.
To achieve initial BRC accreditation and maintain it going forward, your business and premises will be subject to regular compliance audits to ensure that you are adhering to the stringent BRC standards. What’s more, after your initial audit, once you hold the BRC certification, you could be subject to unannounced further audits.
What is BRC accreditation?
If you are not familiar with the term BRC accreditation, or BRCGS as it is also known, BRC is an abbreviation for British Retail Consortium, which is a UK based trade association for retail businesses. The BRC devised a set of product and process certification standards for the food industry, to ensure that best practices are being followed at all stages of the supply chain. These globally recognised standards are known as the British Retail Consortium Global Standards (BRCGS) or more commonly known as BRC accreditation.
Why is Paperwork So Important?
Insufficient or incorrect paperwork is without doubt one of the biggest causes of poor performance in a BRC pest control audit.
You could have outstanding, comprehensive pest control provision in place and follow all physical procedures to the letter, but if you fail to maintain a thorough audit trail of paperwork to evidence this, you have no way to prove to the auditors that you are adhering to BRC’s requirements.
Unfortunately, this is where a lot of businesses come unstuck, even when they have a professional pest control contract with a company that is great at dealing with pests. Providing pest control that adheres to BRC standards is a very specific service, and unless your pest control provider has extensive BRC pest control experience, it is unlikely that they will be able to deliver on this particular element of provision sufficiently.
How Can I Tell if My Paperwork is Up to Standard?
BRC accreditation requires comprehensive and specific documentation and reporting systems to be in place. In order to successfully pass a BRC pest control audit, ALL of the below must be in place and remain on site, under the supervision of the company at all times:
- Your contract detailing the specification for the level of pest control service you have engaged
- Contact details and emergency operational agreements between the site and your pest control provider
- Forms for sightings of pests on site, recording the location, numbers, time and contact details of the person who make the sighting
- A signed and dated, comprehensive site plan. This should relate directly to the bait checklist and the actual site and should be reviewed every 12 months as a minimum
- Pest risk assessment, including any follow-up matrix
- Site-specific information, such as keys required and treatment times
- Visit reports, which should include:
- The type of visit undertaken, for example, routine, follow-up, call-out
- A record of visit number, date and the technician’s name
- Detailed findings, including pest infestation and possible legislation requirements
- The names, quantities and locations of pesticides used
- Proposed dates for works to be carried out, such as the subsequent visit
- Corrective actions undertaken by the technician
- Corrective actions to be undertaken by the site contact
- Proactive recommendations to prevent recurrence for both service provider and site contact
- Signature of the technician and the responsible person on site
- Appropriate trend analysis of pest activity identified
- Risk assessment for use of potential pesticide materials, such as CoSHH
- Material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for actual pesticides used on site
- Activity risk assessments relating to health and safety of pest control staff.
- Insurance certificates
- Waste transfer certificates
- Personnel training certificates
- A copy of your pest control contractor’s current membership certificate of a nationally recognised trade association
- Procedures for operational tasks such as collection and disposal of pesticides
If you have ALL of these things in place, they are ALL up to date with accurate information, and are ALL being stored safely onsite under the company’s supervision, then your paperwork is most likely up to standard.
If however, you identify things on the list above that you are unable to locate, or that are in place but are inaccurate or haven’t been updated regularly, there is a very good chance that should you be audited, your score would be marked down or even worse, you could even fail the audit altogether.
It is also really important to make sure that your staff are fully aware of requirements and procedures when it comes to pest control. During the course of a BRC pest control audit, auditors may speak to employees about any pest issues that they have encountered. If they mention a previous pest sighting or issue, the auditors will then check that the sighting was correctly recorded at the time when it occurred and that the correct procedures for dealing with the sighting were then followed and appropriately documented.
What Should I Do if My Paperwork is Not Up to Standard?
If you looked at the above list and you have 1 or 2 small concerns, we would recommend that you contact your current pest control provider as soon as possible and ask them to address the issues. However, if you think a number of documents are missing, inaccurate, or haven’t been updated as they should, it may well be time to look for a different pest control contractor, with specific BRC experience.
Unfortunately, the fact that you have appointed a professional pest control contractor to undertake your pest control provision does not absolve your responsibility for failings on their part. The company holding the BRC accreditation is responsible for ensuring that they are aware of the pest control requirements and that the contractor they appoint is capable of meeting them sufficiently.
In their guidance, BRC also recommend that you should carry out an internal audit of your pest control provider at least once a year, to ensure that they are performing adequately and that they have all of the necessary information required to be able to carry out their work correctly.
Click here for the full BRC guidance on choosing an appropriate pest control contractor.
Need Help with BRC Pest Control?
With over 20 years of experience providing BRC standard pest control to accredited businesses, Abate’s highly experienced team of in-house field biologists and level 3 pest control technicians are experts in the field. So, if you are looking for an experienced BRC pest control contractor or would like to find out more about how we can help you, give us a call on: 0800 980 9767 and speak to one of our friendly team.
You can also visit our BRC Pest Control Services page for more information or download our pdf guide to BRC Pest Control here.