Health and Safety in the Hotel Industry (Part 7)
Hotels see a vast throughput of people and employ thousands of staff – all of whom are exposed to safety risks on a daily basis. Do you know what those risks are, and are you aware of how to safeguard your customers and staff? Find out in our series of articles.
A recent spate of cases involving health and safety at hotels has focused attention on the procedures that need to be followed in order to ensure that guests and members of staff are kept safe whilst on the premises. Failure to do so can mean prosecution, fines, imprisonment, injury and in some cases, death. Even if the injuries sustained are minor, the damage to the reputation of a hotel whose very livelihood depends on both repeat and new business from the general public can be catastrophic.
Putting control measures into place and checking them to ensure that they continue to be effective is essential to comply with health and safety legislation. Such measures also make sure that guests and staff have a safe environment in which to work and move around.
Specific hazards and environments
Let’s take a look at some of the problems that are specific to the hotel and hospitality industry and what steps can be taken to make them safer.
Portable Electrical Appliances
Most, if not all hotel rooms will contain portable electric equipment, such as hairdryers, irons, televisions and kettles. These will be used virtually every day and may begin to show signs of wear and tear. In order to ensure that these are safe to use and pose no danger to guests or staff, they should be subjected to a regular routine of inspection and testing.
Swimming Pool and Spa Safety
Many guests would consider a swimming pool or spa to be a very desirable feature of their hotel. For many, it is just that, but there are dangers of which the hotel, its staff and guests should be aware.
The first and most obvious danger is that of drowning. All pools need to be supervised by trained and qualified staff so that if anyone gets into trouble, they can be quickly rescued. Many pool users will be unfamiliar with the layout of the pool and this can cause problems. Some pools are badly constructed, with steep dips into deep water areas; hotels should consider how their pools are designed and follow best practice to avoid putting users at risk.
There should also be warning signs that are adequate for their purpose, to warn users about the risks they may face. To avoid anyone entering the pool area when there is nobody on duty, the facilities should be protected by security measures.
Aside from the danger of drowning, the quality of the water itself can cause problems for some users. The water needs to be tested regularly, results recorded and disinfecting procedures should be put in place. Of course, the chemicals that are used to disinfect and clean the pool and its environs should be stored safely and in line with COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health).
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