Every employer is responsible for protecting staff and all collection users from the hazards and risks associated with pest management activities. These pages identify hazards, mitigation strategies, and provide some examples of policy and procedure documents that can be adapted for your institutional needs.

 

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Safety for Humans

Health and Safety largely depends upon knowledge of the collection and of the area being monitored. Informing stakeholders about trap placement will help ensure human safety. In addition, special procedures may be required to engage other stakeholders in trap placement and trap collection. Note that stakeholders can include a wide range of museum professionals, such as facilities staff, IT staff, and collections staff.

Health and safety concerns primarily center on:

  • Issues relating to previously applied pesticides and other hazardous materials (such as lead and asbestos) on collection items, on building structures, and within specific rooms.
  • Hazards relating to facilities structures.
  • How and where traps are placed and serviced.

See the AIC Wiki for information on the hazards of past pesticide residues.

Hazards for Humans:

Monitoring involves trapping, record keeping, and reporting. Using blunder traps poses minimal risk to humans unless there is a known allergy to adhesives or pest residues. Collecting and recording the data is similarly low risk.

  • Be careful when placing traps/insect monitors, as there is always the potential for access and egress problems that may present injury hazards.
  • Be aware that vertebrate trapping can increase health risks, as these pests are known to carry more pathogens that can harm humans.
  • Wash hands thoroughly or wear appropriate gloves when placing a trap, removing a trap or handling any pests.
  • Beware of the pest you are targeting through trapping and plan accordingly for use of proper personal protective equipment. For example, disturbing vertebrate pest droppings can increase exposure to pest-borne diseases.
  • Follow appropriate protocols for removal of pest residues to ensure health and safety for all stakeholders.
  • Always consult with a licensed certified pest manager for any questions related to health and safety for humans.
Safety for Collections

Monitoring programs improve the safety of collections through data gathering and analysis, and when properly implemented, can identify threats before collections are damaged. Ensure that all institutional stakeholders are aware of trap/insect monitors placement, so that traps/insect monitors do not get inadvertently stepped on, kicked, or removed. Lost traps/insect monitors result in lost data, and this reduces the effectiveness of your program. Stakeholders can include a wide range of museum professionals, such as facilities staff, IT staff, and collections staff.

Hazards for Collections:

Collection hazards when monitoring are generally related to trap/insect monitors placement, collection damage due to handling, and materials choice.

Monitoring:

  • Monitoring for rodents and/or other vertebrate pests using poisons, even if allowed in your municipality, is not recommended in a collection setting because the poisoned creature can die in hidden crevices/walls/pipes causing further problems and providing food for a host of other pests.
  • Follow appropriate protocols for removal of pest residues such as expired pests, urine trails, or rodent smear/rub marks, because their presence will increase the likelihood of future infestations.
  • Always consult with a licensed certified pest manager for any questions relating to chemical components of products used for pest residue clean-up, pheromone, or poison baits.

Traps:

  • Blunder traps/insect monitors are of minimal risk for collection items, so long as care is taken to place the traps/insect monitors a safe distance from all collection items (so that the adhesive does not inadvertently come into contact with the art/artifact or housing materials).
  • Pheromone lures, unlike blunder traps/insect monitor which are passive in their collecting method, attract insects towards the traps/insect monitors. Consider their placement carefully to avoid drawing insects into your collection area.
  • Vertebrate traps should always be placed in an area near point of suspected ingress to discourage potential damage to collections. Ingress areas can include a wide range of building openings, such as conduit, ceiling pipe runs, and other small openings.

 

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