A reader writes: "One of my staff purchased a can of bug spray to deal with ants and roaches. Now tenants are complaining about the smell. What can I do?"

As we discussed your situation, my mind was trying to add up the number of violations you can be charged with due to this one act. It appears that pest control is not a requirement in your specifications, so I am really concerned that your well-meaning employee has put your company at risk. I am not an attorney or OSHA/EPA expert so highly recommend you consult with legal counsel as you proceed. You probably need to reprimand, replace and/or retrain this employee on what his/her responsibilities are regarding pest management. You need to bring in IAQ (indoor air quality) experts to test the air and determine if it is toxic. Make sure that you put the safety of the tenants, visitors and your own staff at the top of your priority list. Many pesticides can cause a variety of issues including eye/lung irritation and in some cases serious, long term health issues.

You need to convince the customer to bring in a qualified pest control service to deal with these ongoing issues. It should be noted that as a cleaning service you can help with pest management by thoroughly vacuuming, sweeping and mopping to reduce the food source for vermin and insects. As we inspected the site, we noted that many tenants eat at their desks, spill food/liquids and are overall slobs that consider you to be their maid service. I recommend you enhance the training of staff in cleaning as it relates to more thorough vacuuming, inspecting/cleaning waste cans and give special attention to prompt spill removal. As to the ants, they appear to be looking for moisture so make sure that all leaks are reported and repaired promptly.

Educating the tenants on how they can protect their health and environment might be a step in the right direction.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.