Staff Safety Beyond the Panic Button

Kevin Brown

Our guide to improving safety culture at your hotel

A lack of personal safety in the workplace is a growing concern for many companies worldwide. But recent data shows just how widespread and pervasive the issue is in the hospitality industry:

  • According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, approximately 14% of all sexual assaults reported in America from 2005-2015 targeted hospitality professionals; the highest of any industry.
  • The Unite Union in the UK found that 89% of hospitality professionals surveyed experienced one or more incidents of sexual harassment on the job.
  • OSHA reported last year that there were approximately 275,000 injuries in the hospitality industry, with more than 6,700 of those cases directly affecting hotel room attendants.

These revealing numbers have prompted many government leaders at the local and federal levels to enact legislation protecting hotel staff. Although progress is being made, there remains a larger cultural problem within the industry that needs to be addressed. In this blog, we’ll discuss challenges behind the isolated workspace, and provide solutions to help improve employee safety.

Connect Isolated Employees

Depending on their role, hotel staff may not interact frequently with their colleagues or managers throughout the day. Many staff are mobile, and are required to move throughout the property based on business needs. For instance, a room attendant spends most of an 8 hour shift alone inside guest rooms.  Engineers commonly work separately in restricted access areas and may never see another employee through their entire day. Public area attendants are constantly hopping from one end of the building to another based on what areas need to be addressed. Most employees subjected to isolated conditions don’t have tools like radios or work issued phones to communicate easily. So, how do they tell someone they need help or that they are in an unsafe situation?

Two of our safety integrations partners Robb Monkman from React Mobile and Einar Rosenberg from Creating Revolutions weighed in. They agreed removing communication barriers is a top priority for solving this issue.

Says Monkman, “People that work in isolated workspaces need a voice because this is a human issue, not a business issue.  Most of these mandates across the country for employee security devices are coming out specifically for housekeeping staff because they are the most isolated. What many people don’t know is that eventually those mandates will expand beyond the guest room to all isolated workspaces. What about workplace injury or a medical emergency? In order to find the best solution to this problem leaders need to remember this is a human issue first and applies to everyone. When leaders also adopt a culture of inclusion with their staff, and give them outlets to share their needs, then they can easily provide a safer environment for everyone.”

Develop Best Practices

In order to create a safer environment for everyone, hoteliers should invest in the right solutions to keep everyone connected in the event of a threat.  However, there are a few considerations that must be solved before investing in the right solution.

Rosenberg from Creating Revolutions shares, “First hoteliers must consider the coverage level of their WiFi setup. Most of the safety services available from vendors today are dependent on WiFi. Hotel leaders must supply their staff with a safety technology that works, and the hotel is liable if they implement a technology that has faults such as spotty coverage. The second problem hoteliers need to overcome is false alarms. The reason it can become an issue is because if security teams are sent to one end of the property to answer a false alarm, it can take longer for them to respond to a real emergency somewhere else. What makes matters worse is if there are many false alarms, first responders can easily become desensitized. If the vendor hoteliers invest in does not have technology that specifically protects against false alarms, that hotel can find themselves liable based on security response times.”

Do Your Research

To identify a safety solution that fits your needs, empowers your staff, and breaks down isolation in your workplace, the first step is to do some research.  Here are some best practices to ensure you are properly set up for success in evolving your safety culture:

1.      Identify isolated workspaces in your property, who works there, and document their routine.

2.      Ask employees about their daily communication challenges. How can they feel connected and safe while working alone? What network infrastructure will work best for your building?

3.      Get insight from your peers. Contact other hotels, vendors, or industry news outlets and learn how others are evolving their safety culture.

4.      Invest in a safety technology solution works for your hotel, and empower your staff to use it.

5.      Encourage regular conversations and feedback sessions around safety to ensure it remains a top priority and identify areas of improvement.

Put Your Plan in Motion

By developing a culture of safety your team will be more happy, engaged, and productive.  Ensure that you are engaging your staff for feedback and insight when choosing your technology.  Evolve your culture with the right business partners and shape the future of your staff experience towards a safer and smarter workplace.  To learn more about our technology solutions and how they integrate with employee safety devices and technology, click on the contact link below or visit any of our safety and security partners.

 

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