Health & Safety: Dealing with pets and pests

Related tags Occupational safety and health

Pets in pubs are a thorny issue encountered on a regular basis by many licensees. And unless the site is part of a pub or hotel chain then it's...

Pets in pubs are a thorny issue encountered on a regular basis by many licensees. And unless the site is part of a pub or hotel chain then it's likely there is no definitive policy in place - the matter is usually left to those on site to use their own judgement.

But even if that judgement comes down against allowing pet into pubs, it must be remembered that guide dogs accompanying blind or partially-sighted customers have unequivocal right of entry.

On the other hand, many pubs welcome pets and their owners - being well aware that this can give trade a shot in the arm, especially in country areas where walkers and locals call in for refreshments while their pets enjoy 'water on tap'.

Some country pubs keep their own chickens, ducks and rabbits and these may even be part of the attraction and /or menu! But they must be well kept and carefully fed, as vermin are often attracted to their food.

Pest problem

Which brings us to pests - a problem that can cause real pain, legislation insists must be controlled and can be particularly prevalent during the autumn months.

Staff on site should always look out for signs of mice and rats for these rodents are carriers of disease that can be passed on - rats in particular can transmit Weil's Disease, which can be fatal - either by directly contaminating food or by contaminating work surfaces.

It should be a daily routine to monitor for pests and if any traces are found employ a registered pest control officer - preferably an independent operator with local knowledge - who is legally obliged to be qualified in COSHH risk assessment.

He should leave you with a detailed account of the steps taken to eradicate the problem and the work done.

If minor problems such as ants are dealt with in-house, then every item used to banish the pests must be kept in a detailed register.

And remember, bait should never be touched with bare hands and under no account should it be used in food preparation areas.

Stuart Knill​ is general manager for Venners Health & Safety Division. Founded in 1896, Venners is the UK's largest and longest established stock audit company servicing the hospitality and leisure sector. Its services include liquor and food stocktaking; inventory listings and valuations; compliance audit; and a range of health and safety services including food safety and fire safety. It serves all the UK and key European cities using only its own employees.

Call 01279 620 820, email​ or visit

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