Legal Watch: Technicians May Service The PCO Into A Lawsuit!

By Jeff Lipman, Attorney

Technicians are generally compensated on their production. This model, by its very nature, encourages the technician to render pest control services as quickly as possible. In one sense, the PCO wants to provide the best service to its customer and encourage proficiency and efficiency of their technicians. However, the business model may often times conflict with their technician providing quality service versus earning a living. This places the issue of quality control in play.

An example of where this problem comes into play is in the arena of commercial bed bug eradication where an entire floor or even building structure requires treatment. If the technician is striving for speed, quality will naturally suffer and the bed bugs may in fact survive and spread. Most PCOs ignore this issue which may expose them to future litigation. Building owners and managers who get sued by their tenants for infestations will likely defend the case based on their conduct in relying on their PCO as being reasonable and that the cause of the continued spread of the infestation is linked to the inadequacy of the PCO rather than their own negligence.

While the building managers and owners may not have the PCO in their line of sight, the defense attorneys and insurance companies paying for their defense most certainly do. The solution to this potential problem lies in quality control and documentation. Actually, documentation can be synonomous with quality control. The PCO should require their technicians to log in the time-in and time-out of each particular unit and specify what quality control measures are or were being taken either in the general service agreement or post treatment report. This post treatment documentation can be simply accomplished by the technician checking off on a document (wither written or electronic) signifying that they complied with their standard operating procedure.

The purpose of the documentation is not only to preserve the information but also for the technician to think twice before they leave a job site as well as whether they spent the requisite time and attention to each project they performed.

To download “PestWest Newsletter 411- Issue 19” in print ready format, please click HERE or on the image below.

PestWest Newsletter 411- Issue 19f

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