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Health & Safety in the workplace

Run a hotel? How safe are your guests?

When you’re managing a hotel, the most important thing to consider is safety, not only for your guests, but for your staff too. Do they know what to do in an emergency? Do you have any First Aiders on-site? Do you know your legal obligations when it comes toHealth & Safety? Todays blog we are looking at Slips, Trips and Falls – here are five key areas to consider:

  • Spilled liquids – the last thing you want is for a guest or a member of staff slipping or tripping, resulting in an injury. Slips, trips and falls are commonly caused by a wet floor, where water, grease or oil has been spilled. This problem is not exclusive to kitchen areas; where guests have been visiting a buffet zone or have brought drinks to a table, the risks increase. Be vigilant – make sure any spilled liquids are mopped up by staff as quickly as possible. Use ‘wet floor signs’ to warn people where there has been a spillage, or temporarily close off zones to prevent people from walking into a potentially hazardous area. Don’t run the risk of being sued because you have left a wet area open to risk.
  • Carpets and flooring – one of the major causes of a fall is poorly fitted or damaged carpets, loose stair treads and edgings, or uneven floors. Check for wear and tear, and replace any carpet or flooring that could cause a hazard. Also, a change in height between floor levels is another common way for people to trip up – add signage, e.g. ‘Mind the step’, to nearby walls to warn people of changing floor levels.
  • Cables and extension leads – are another common hazard to watch out for, especially if you have recently held a conference or event at your hotel. Lengthy extension leads linking projectors to laptops can pose a risk and are easily forgotten once delegates have left the venue. Make sure any leftover equipment including all cabling and connectors is packed away by staff. Use rubber floor protectors to cover any loose cables during the day to prevent people from tripping up.
  • Outside areas and grounds – check any outside areas for uneven or loose paving, and replace accordingly. A fall on hard ground could cause a potentially serious injury. For example, check to see whether you have any loose stones on steps going down into any garden areas – as you walk down the steps, is there any noticeable rocking or movement? It is also worth checking whether you have any doors that open outwards onto corridors or in communal areas, especially in high footfall areas as this could cause a hazard to passers-by.
  • Risk Assessments – carrying out a risk assessment of your hotel is a good idea if you want to keep your staff and your guests safe. As a Hotel Manager or Owner, you have a duty to carry out a Risk Assessment of First Aid Needs (RAOFAN) based on the hazards and risks involved in your employees’ day to day work. If you have less than 5 employees, a formal written scheme may not be needed – however, by carrying out a risk assessment, you will be able to determine whether you need first aiders on the premises. This is commonly overlooked and yet, should any of the above hazards cause an accident, you risk being sued – or worse, someone could experience a serious injury, which you won’t want on your conscience. For further guidance, see leaflet ACOP L74 Third Edition dated 2013