The hospitality and gaming industry has been particularly hard hit by the U.S. bedbug infestation that began last year. Bedbugs can spread through clothes, suitcases, furniture, and even electric devices.
"The source of bedbugs can be problematic,” noted JoAnn Sullivan, senior vice president, Marsh Risk Consulting’s (MRC) Workforce Strategies Practice. “If the infestation originates from employees, a hospitality employer would need to initiate inspection programs for employee clothing as they enter the building and help the employees with fumigation costs for their home and car.”
Winter months can pose a greater risk of infestation as people tend to stay inside and families may share residences, especially during the holiday season or long weekends such as Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day, according to Sullivan.
An infestation can also have a profound impact on business operations. MRC recommends that businesses develop protocols to identify and isolate an infestation, depending on the nature of their business.
Sullivan added, “Word about the infestation will likely get on the news, or on social networks like Twitter or Facebook. A business would need to appoint someone to monitor the premises, monitor customer and employee complaints, and act swiftly to exterminate the bedbugs and replace any soft goods.
Much like during a food scare, a business’s reputation can drop quite quickly if it fails to take timely and effective action.”