Ask-A -Transit Expert
Ask – A – Transit Expert: Bed Bugs
Hello Transit Experts,
I hope you are all doing well! We have a Transit Agency from out-of-state that is looking for policy’s in place for drivers that come in contact with bed bugs.
If you would like to share your policy please email them directly to me at email@example.com and I will be able to forward them directly to the agency. Also, note if you would be willing to share these to the CASTA Transit Resource Library.
Dawn Marsh, City of La Junta
Sherry Ellebracht, RTD
- Educate employees: Teach employees now about how to prevent bedbug infestations. We provide informational handouts, training and we educate employees about checking for bedbugs in their workspace and on all our properties. Encouraging timely reporting is key.
- Employee Handbook and Trailblazer: We updated employee handbooks to mandate reporting of bedbug sightings. Employees should be urged to report outbreaks immediately—whether the outbreak is in the vehicle/rail car, benches, shelters, stations, office, or at the employee’s home or a hotel where the employee recently stayed. This was done proactively so are employees we are in this together and need the information to handle appropriately. We are also transparent regarding the measures we take to address the issues: including professional exterminators, inspecting work areas, and moving employees to a “safe area” free from bedbugs.
- Check and maintain the workplace: Details below regarding our equipment and educating our staff on this process follow.
- Be sensitive about questioning employees: Multiple persons could cause a bedbug infestation in the workplace; it will be virtually impossible to find the exact cause. It is critical that the situation is treated with sensitivity, both to the employee suspected of having brought in the bedbugs, as well as other employees who may be fearful of being exposed to them.
- Be forthcoming: If a problem is identified we inform all employees affected without “pointing fingers” at suspected carriers. While it may be tempting to share the information only with employees affected on a certain floor or work area, the disclosure of information will foster a sense of inclusiveness and prevent employees from feeling as if they are in the dark.
- Offer support: We provide our employees with information on prevention, exposure, and assistance if dealing with infestations at home or in the workplace. We offer EAP to those suffering ill effects from infestations at home or in the workplace and allow time off using sick time or vacation time to address issues. Additionally, if employees are suffering from medical or psychological injuries because of the bites, we allow employees to take time off pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act. We also provide information employees regarding assistance programs that will help with costs incurred for home inspections and exterminations.
Below are some specific procedures and responsibilities for responding to a bed bug incident on our vehicles/equipment/properties:
- We a relationship with a qualified pest management professional.
- Institute a regular inspection and monitoring program for bed bugs with an emphasis on vehicles/routes at the highest risk of bed bug infestation or those that have experienced bed bug problems in the past.
- We have education/awareness programs for operators, conductors, and maintenance personnel that covers:
- How to recognize bed bugs and their evidence.
- Basic bed bug biology and habits.
- How to respond to a bed bug complaint.-responding to a Bed Bug incident
- If someone reports bed bugs, respond immediately
- Collect specimens, if possible, for identification by a professional.
- Report the complaint through the proper channels
- Report the vehicle/equipment/property for quarantine and scheduling the vehicle/equipment for inspection and treatment
- Remove an infested vehicle/equipment/property from service until it has been treated
- Return the vehicle/equipment/property to service after treatment
- Inspect the vehicle/equipment/property again 1-2 weeks after treatment to ensure that all bed bugs have been eliminated.
- Bed bug service may include one or more of the following:
- Insecticide applications targeted to certain infested or suspect areas, with residual insecticide applied to cracks, crevices, and other harborages.
- Steam or spot cold treatment to kill bed bugs in seats, carpet edges, and in cracks and crevices.
- Vacuuming to eliminate clusters of bed bugs.
- Heat treatment or fumigation of the vehicle
- Trisk in areas with a significant incidence of residential bed bug infestations. Not only may vehicles themselves become infested, but also benches, lockers, and furniture in stations and airports.
- Keep careful records of bed bug incidents by vehicle and by route in order to determine high-risk routes.
- Bed Bug Prevention: institute regular “deep” cleaning of vehicles/equipment/property including steam cleaning of carpets and seats.
- Workers who clean or service the interior of vehicles inspect for the signs of bed bugs: live bugs, shed skins, spotting, and eggs.
- Aggressively vacuum typical bed bug hiding places such as deep in the seams, creases, and crevices in upholstered seats, around luggage storage areas, and inside seatbelt buckle assemblies.
- Implemented a regular bed bug monitoring program for vehicles/rail cars, stations, benches, etc. Conduct periodic inspections including the use of a certified canine bed bug scent detection team.
Hank Braaksma, Seniors’ Resource Center
“These should be covered under a biohazard section in agency policy. I would not address them specifically but cite as an example of several biohazards that can occur. I.e. blood spill, vomit, etc.”