Logistics companies employ nearly 8 million workers in the U.S. alone. And this industry is on the move. Continued growth is leading to more jobs and those new opportunities are leading to increased employee mobility. For the most part, that’s okay. Employee turnover, which traditionally was seen as a negative, is now a positive force for bringing in fresh energy and new talent. But even in the midst of this industry boom, something’s bound to slip through the cracks — and in this case, that something is often pests.
The presence of pests, however, is symptomatic of a bigger issue — a lack of new employee training. Across industries, the onboarding process is often seen as a necessary evil, especially when the employee is making a lateral move within the industry. They already know how it all works, and while the person signing their check may have changed, the basic job description likely has not. The result is that many companies and employees don’t give new team member training the attention it deserves. This lapse in focus opens up gaps in process — gaps that pests can crawl right through.
Pest control has always been an important part of the logistics industry, but when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) back in 2011, the message was clear. No longer would the focus be on responding to problems as they arise. Instead, companies would need to make prevention the priority through better documentation, accountability and corrective actions. In 2013, the FDA took the FMSA to the next level with the Preventative Controls for Human Food Regulation amendment. Most important, this new language placed an even greater emphasis on having a robust pest management plan and employees trained in pest prevention for each position within an organization.
While these regulations have been in place for almost a decade, some organizations are still struggling to adapt. To ensure your company is in-line with FMSA and to avoid the financial and reputational blowback from a pest problem, it’s important to train new team members on your pest prevention practices. For example, teaching new employees about your facility’s pest thresholds — levels of pest activity that require immediate action — can help ensure that those team members become an active part of your pest prevention strategy. Also, having inbound shipping supervisors familiar with pests that might be on cargo being received will help to ensure that your Supplier Verification system keeps pests from being brought inside.
Keep it simple. Start by making sure everyone knows the following:
- What pests to be on the lookout for
- What the immediate next step is after spotting a pest
- When and how to document the incident
In addition to these overarching questions, employees should also receive training on the overall correct action plan. By bringing the whole team into the loop, individual accountability will increase, and hopefully, pest activity will decrease.
The bottom line — the logistics industry is changing and fast. But savvy companies are changing right along with it, putting processes and procedures in place that help ensure that every new employee is up to speed on the best practices for pest prevention.