Toolbox Topic: Hotel Safety
Safety is an essential aspect of the daily operations of a hotel. Providing a safe environment for guests and staff is a critical concern for the hospitality industry. In today’s episode, we will discuss proactive measures and protocols you can implement to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.
Hotels and motels are commercial establishments that offer lodging and accommodation services to travelers and guests for short-term stays. They provide a range of amenities and services to ensure comfort, convenience, and hospitality during the guests’ stay.
History of Hotels
The concept of providing lodging for travelers can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In ancient Rome, Taverns offered food, drink, and often overnight accommodations. Inns and taverns were prevalent along ancient trade routes in Asia and Europe. These establishments provided a place for weary travelers to rest.
During the Middle Ages, coaching inns became commonplace. These inns were strategically located along major roads and were resting places for travelers and their horses. Coaching inns offered stables, food, and shelter, catering to the needs of both aristocrats and commoners.
The 18th and 19th centuries saw the emergence of grand hotels in major cities and tourist destinations. With the advent of industrialization and the growth of rail travel, more people began to explore distant locations for business and leisure. Hotels like the Tremont House in Boston (1829) and the Grand Hotel in Paris (1862) set new standards of comfort, service, and luxury for travelers. These hotels offered private rooms, in-suite bathrooms, restaurants, and other amenities, making them more appealing to affluent guests.
The early 20th century saw the emergence of motels, a term coined from the words “motor” and “hotel.” Motels catered primarily to motorists, who were increasingly exploring the country by automobile. Motels provided convenient roadside accommodations with parking spaces directly in front of individual guest rooms.
In the mid-20th century, the concept of hotel chains transformed the hospitality industry. Brands like the Holiday Inn, founded by K. Wilson in 1952, set a new standard by offering the same amenities and services across their properties. By ensuring a uniform travel experience, these chains redefined the hotel industry and shaped the hotel landscape we know today.
Worksite Injury Statistics
According to industry data, slip and fall accidents, strains, chemical exposures, and electrical incidents are among the most common safety-related incidents in hotels.
Furthermore, data reveals that housekeepers experience a nonfatal injury and illness rate of 5.4 percent, while the national rate of all other professions ranks at 3.5 percent. (CMAlaw.net) The most common problems faced by hotel employees are a result of the following:
- Lack of risk identification measures, i.e., inspections
- Lack of standardized injury prevention programs, i.e., formal safety programs
- Lack of established procedures for reporting injuries
Safety Tips for Hotel Safety
Safety Tip #1 Blood-borne Pathogens and Needle Stick Safety
Always use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and face masks, when handling sharp objects or cleaning areas potentially contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids. Properly dispose of used needles and sharps in designated containers to prevent injuries and potential infections.
Safety Tip #2 Strains and Sprains Prevention
Use proper lifting techniques, bend your knees, and keep your back straight when lifting heavy objects. Ask for assistance if an object is too heavy or bulky.
Safety Tip #3 Chemical Exposure
Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when handling and storing cleaning chemicals. Ensure adequate ventilation in storage areas and wear the appropriate PPE. Ensure the proper types of gloves are used if handling any corrosive cleaners.
Safety Tip #4 Pools
More for the guest than employees, but pool safety measures are essential. Regularly inspect and maintain pool equipment, such as ladders and safety barriers. Clearly mark pool depths and provide appropriate warnings for non-swimmers.
Safety Tip #5 Electrical
Avoid overloading electrical outlets and use surge protectors where needed. Report any damaged electrical cords or equipment to maintenance immediately. Appliances should be U.L. listed. Outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and pool areas should be GFCI protected.
Safety Tip #6 Fire Safety
Familiarize yourself with the hotel’s fire evacuation plan and escape routes. Keep fire exits and emergency pathways clear at all times.
Safety Tip #7 Slip and Fall Prevention
Promptly clean up spills and wet surfaces to prevent slip hazards. Place wet floor signs in these areas until the floors have dried.
Safety Tip #8 Emergency Procedures
Be familiar with emergency procedures. Know the locations of first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, and emergency equipment.
Safety Tip #9 Ergonomic Awareness
Housekeeping should use carts with large wheels to avoid potential strains while pushing or pulling on carts. Take short breaks and stretch regularly, especially during physically demanding tasks.
Workplace Injury Risk High for Hotel Housekeeping Staff https://www.cmalaw.net/workplace-injury-risk-high-for-hotel-housekeeping-staff.html
“A Brief History of Hotels” - Historic Hotels Worldwide - https://www.historichotels.org/us/history/a-brief-history-of-hotels.php
“The Fascinating History of Hotels and Accommodation” - HVS - https://www.hvs.com/article/4090/the-fascinating-history-of-hotels-and-accommodation
“The History of Hotels: From Ancient Inns to Modern Luxury Accommodations” - The Atlantic Hotel & Spa - https://atlantichotelfl.com/history-of-hotels/
“History of Motels in the USA” - American Vintage Motels - https://www.americanvintagemotels.com/history-of-motels-in-the-usa/
“The Evolution of the Hotel Industry: From Ancient Times to Modern Days” - Taylor & Francis Online - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15313220.2019.1580062