Hotel Safety: What to do Before, During and After a Hotel Workplace Accident

By Raul Chacon Western Regional Loss Control Manager, EMPLOYERS Insurance, Inc. | March 11, 2018

Hotel employees are vulnerable to a wide range of potential injuries or illnesses depending on their specific position. With a variety of occupations and work environments in any hotel, these risks often vary in severity. For instance, pool cleaners are exposed to harmful chemicals, a front desk receptionist may experience back pain from long stretches of standing, and bellhops may risk strains from lifting luggage.

No matter the severity of the work-related injury or illness, such incidents can negatively impact both the hotel and its employees. When an employee is hurt and unable to perform his or her duties, operations can be strained as others take on additional responsibilities. Filling in for an absent employee may require offering other employees overtime, hiring temporary workers and, in some cases, bringing on a new full-time employee. There are many other hidden costs that are incurred when an employee is injured on the job. Additionally, work-related accidents can lead to higher workers' compensation premiums for the business.

Providing a safe and healthy workplace is not only required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but is also essential to protect a hotel and its employees from the negative repercussions of work-related accidents and illnesses. As a hotel owner or manager, it is important to maintain a safe work environment to mitigate costs and protect employees. Equally important is to regularly convey the importance of working safely to all employees and making it a priority. According to OSHA, business owners can expect to save four to six dollars for every one dollar invested in a safety program.

Here are four steps hotel executives can take to create a safe and healthy work environment for all employees:

Lead from the Top

Effective workplace safety programs are more than written words, they are an integral part of the business culture and have the full participation and buy-in from everyone involved in the business. The first step to creating a safer workplace begins with hotel owners and managers clearly defining the company's safety goals, communicating those goals to employees frequently and setting the model example and expectation for others to follow.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.