Hotel safety from the employee perspective

This is part three in a series on hotel safety. Click here for part one, "Hotel security: Watching the lot," and two, "Where do security cameras fit into hotel safety?"

Operators are always very concerned with guest safety, but the safety of a hotel’s employees also must be taken under consideration. Since the best way to keep employees safe at night is to keep them inside the property as much as possible, John Porior, president of WHG Companies, said to make sure all garbage bins are emptied before dark and to have employees watch each other walk to their cars or other forms of transportation during shift changes.

Martin Flaherty, corporate director of maintenance at Coakley & Williams, suggests hotels hold monthly safety meetings with staff, and to form an on-property safety committee. Staff should be trained on how to deal with intoxicated guests at bars, and should always call management or the authorities when dealing with belligerent guests.

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“As a hotel, you want to develop a relationship with the local police, have them visit regularly to inspect the buildings and keep managers that know them,” Flaherty said.

According to Margaret Leon, operations director for Driftwood Hospitality Management, personal safety for staff is a major topic in the industry. Roughly one year ago, Driftwood enacted a new housekeeping cart policy to protect housekeeping staff as they clean rooms, whereby the carts are now used to clean while staff operates in a closed guestroom, as opposed to with the door open.

“This takes away the possibility of an associate being trapped in a guestroom by a guest or visitor,” Leon said. “Topics like data security are stealing the headlines, but personal safety in hotels is a major topic. Housekeeping can be operating on a floor during the day when there is not a lot of activity, and there is a lot of opportunity for exposure there. It’s important for associates to feel safe, and we think this new rule change helps with that.”