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European trade body initiative can benefit cleaning industry

Published 13th May, 2015 by Neil Nixon

European trade body initiative can benefit cleaning industry

The launch of a new standard for pest control has been hailed as positive news for the cleaning industry in the UK. The initiative, which is accompanied by a certification scheme, is designed to promote professional standards for pest control companies throughout the EU. It was launched at a conference recently organised by the umbrella trade body for urban pest control, the Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA).

CEPA president, Bertrand Montmoreau, believes the launch of CEN standard EN16636 and CEPA Certified will help raise the bar for both members and commercial customers in the cleaning industry. He said: “This is a positive step that can only be good news for everyone involved. It will ensure pest controllers can benchmark themselves against the best in Europe, and will have strong benefits for customers too. We know that in many European markets, there are some pest controllers who are untrained and do not stay up-to-date with the latest products, pests and legislation, and that can create big problems for us all. But with the new standard and certification scheme, clients can be totally confident that they are getting a professional service.”

Five years ago, CEPA set out to develop a standard by which professional companies in pest management could be measured. Now, the standard and accompanying certification scheme delivers the lynch-pin of a concerted and co-ordinated strategy.

Montmoreau added: “This will enable us to portray a positive image to the general public of the vital role that our industry plays at a European level in terms of public health, food safety, environmental sustainability, and economic significance. It is a key part of our effort to protect citizens responsibly.”

The new scheme is built around EN16636, a new European standard which was developed by the industry in collaboration with experts from Europe's national standards institutes and CEN, the European Standards Bureau.

Dr Peter Whittall of Tripod Consulting, who helped develop the standard, said: “We brought together ideas from across Europe of what best practice looked like. People in the industry developed the standard to make sure it is relevant and defines what a quality job is. Pest control is changing and we are no longer simply 'rat catchers'. It is now about how you protect assets and public health, for example from allergies or the spread of diseases, and tackle issues such as the falling resistance in pests to the biocides we use. Our industry wants to further professionalise and the new standard and certification scheme provides a unique benchmark for this.”

Companies wishing to meet the standard must be assessed on joining the scheme and at 18-month intervals thereafter. The certification scheme acts as an assurance to clients and domestic customers that companies are fully qualified to deal with all species of both rodents and insects and are well versed in integrated pest management, the use of chemicals, and health and safety issues.

The scheme requires that staff take part in continuing professional development and so ensures they will always be up to date with the latest techniques and developments in this fast-changing sector.

Henry Mott, CEPA vice-president, said: “This sends out a strong message that when people use companies carrying the CEPA Certified logo, they can have peace of mind that the job will be done properly. We want this to become the mark of a true professional and for clients to know to look for this logo every time they select a pest control company.”