Many hospitality workers spend much of their work time alone. Housekeepers, for example, go room to room, often by themselves, to clean and prepare them. Front desk workers often spend hours on their own late at night. Workers who deliver food to guests’ rooms or make repairs to hotel or resort property also often work by themselves.
Lone workers — employees who are alone for the majority of their shifts — are more vulnerable to violence and injury than other workers. These workers need a sense of assurance that help is on the way if an emergency arises. Lone worker security devices can provide this peace of mind and help protect staff. Learn more about lone worker security for hospitality workers below.
Importance of Hospitality Worker Safety
Many hospitality workers spend a lot of time working alone. While this is a necessary part of many hospitality workers’ jobs, it puts them at an increased risk of injury, violence and other hazards. Some of the risks that employees of hotels, resorts and other hospitality businesses face include:
- Physical, verbal and sexual abuse: Housekeepers and other hospitality workers need to enter guests’ rooms as part of their jobs. This sometimes means that they are alone with guests in their rooms and puts them at an increased risk of physical, verbal and sexual abuse. In fact, a survey from 2018 reports that nine out of 10 hospitality workers have experienced sexual assault at some point in their careers. Housekeepers who are attacked in a private room may also have difficulty reporting what happened, as there are often no witnesses.
- Working late at night: Front desk staff, hotel managers and other hospitality workers often work long hours and sometimes work overnight. This can increase their risk of being a target of criminal activity, encountering intoxicated guests and other potentially dangerous situations.
- Health problems: Workers in the hospitality industry may need to perform physically demanding work and may sometimes work in hazardous conditions. If a lone worker in a hotel or other hospitality facility suffers an injury or medical emergency and becomes incapacitated, it may take a long time for someone to find them and get them help. This situation can make these medical emergencies even more dangerous than they already are.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put regulations in place regarding employees who work alone. Employers must account for each of their employees throughout the day and at the end of each shift, and they need to see and hear from their lone worker employees during their check-in times. Managers have a responsibility to make sure hospitality workers are safe during their shifts. Hospitality workers can also take steps to protect themselves at work.
Lone Hotel Worker Safety Tips
Hospitality workers should feel safe, even when they’re alone. Here are some general safety tips to keep in mind:
- Check in with a partner regularly: Whether on the phone or in person, create a way to check in with your co-workers. You could work in pairs with another co-worker to make sure you’re never alone. You may decide to meet on a certain floor every two hours. You could also take lunch breaks with your co-workers.
- Keep guest information confidential: For the safety of your guests and coworkers, as well as your own safety, you should keep guest information confidential. Never share the personal information of your guests with anyone except your employer. This includes their name, contact information, where they’re staying and why they’re in town. If someone asks you for the room of a guest, refer them to your manager.
- Keep areas clean and clear: Prevent trips and falls by cleaning up spills and other hazards. Keep walkways clear of objects so that guests can reach fire exits. You should also watch for objects or spills on the stairs. If everyone does their part to clean up and make the space safe, you’ll have a more efficient hotel.
- Take regular breaks: Working long hours puts a strain on your brain, making it harder to concentrate. Instead of working under pressure, take a break to clear your mind and get some time away from work. Check with your employer about how long of a break you’re entitled to as an employee. Taking a 30-minute break can help you think more clearly in an emergency situation.
- Check the ID of every guest and employee: Hotels see lots of new faces coming in during the day. Criminals could try to sneak into hotels as guests or contractors. The front desk clerk’s responsibility includes keeping track of who comes into the hotel. Always ask to see ID from people who check in, request a replacement key or claim they’re there to fix something. If you work at the front desk, but you’re concerned about your safety, talk with your employer about how to report suspicious activity. Guests who invite people to their rooms should also follow a sign-in and sign-out system.
Ways Employers Can Support Lone Workers
While you can take safety precautions on your own, you should also ask for help. Your employer should take steps to ensure your safety and health while you’re at work. Here are some ways your employer can ensure your safety while you work alone:
- Enforce workplace safety measures: Hotel managers should have rules about safety in place for their employees. They should schedule safety training meetings to discuss what to do in case of theft or assault and create code words employees can use to communicate danger without outsiders knowing. If employees deal with harsh chemicals or heavy equipment, management should provide training on how to use them safely. It’s also important to have safety-focused procedures in place for checking guests in and out. Ask your employer for advice about how to stay safe while working alone. If your employer is aware of your concerns, they can set up more ways to keep you safe on the job.
- Provide employees with uniforms: Criminals could pretend to be hotel employees to try to gain access to prohibited areas. Providing employees with company uniforms can help prevent this by making it harder to impersonate a hotel worker. Employers should require all employees to wear their uniforms and name tags while on the clock. Holding regular workplace meetings and events can also make it harder for criminals to impersonate hospitality workers. These events give employees a chance to get to know their coworkers so they can more easily recognize when someone isn’t who they say they are.
- Install smoke and fire alarms: State fire code regulations require hotels to have fire and smoke alarms throughout their buildings. Employers should create a safe environment for their employees by providing a way for them to know that there’s an emergency. There should be a fire alarm on every hallway ceiling, as well as sprinklers on the ceiling in each room. Employers should also put procedures in place for regular changing batteries in detectors, testing detectors to make sure they’re working and performing any required maintenance work on them.
- Use security cameras: Security cameras can help deter criminal activity, provide early warnings of dangers and provide evidence if an incident does occur. A high-quality camera can even detect facial features. Employers should have surveillance cameras in public areas, like hallways and dining areas.
- Hire security personnel: Along with installing security cameras, employers can hire additional security personnel to enforce safety throughout the building. These employees can keep people out of prohibited areas. They can also deal with any suspicious activity while they walk through the halls of the hotel. Knowing that someone is looking and listening for danger can help employees feel safer at work.
- Use an employee safety device (ESD): An app on your phone, such as the one from Towne Tracking, that sends safety reports back to your employer can help keep you safe on the job. The app comes with a panic button so that you can alert your employer of an emergency. Talk to your employer about using an ESD to keep you safe while on the job.
More hotels are beginning to put ESDs in place for their employees. The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) announced its 5-Star Promise in 2018. This program enforces safety regulations for hospitality workers, including carrying an ESD while on the job.
How Our Lone Worker Devices Can Help
Towne Services offers a lone worker security app that can help keep you safe on the job. Industries such as hospitality, real estate and construction have benefited from our security solutions. The features of our lone work security app include:
- Timed sessions: You can create a timed session to show your employer when you’re working for the day. During this session, your employer can access your location and make sure you’re in a safe work zone. If you fail to check in or close the session, your employer will receive an alert. They will assume that you’re in danger, so they may try to contact you or find you in the building.
- Check-in accountability: Through the app, you can check in at certain times of the day to let your employer know that you’re safe. You can choose how often you have to check in with your employer. If you fail to check in at the set time, your employer will receive an alert.
- Bluetooth panic button: You can also use a Bluetooth button, which connects to your mobile device, to send a panic alert or check in with your employer. The device will also send an alert if it detects a fall.
- Duress PIN: With the duress PIN feature, you can type in a unique PIN code if an attacker forces you to close the app. When you type in the PIN, your phone’s screen will display a message that your session has ended. In reality, the app sends a panic alert to your employer without your attacker knowing.
- Man down feature: If you turn on the man down feature, the app will send an emergency alert to your employer if you haven’t moved for a long time. Motion detectors in the Bluetooth button can also detect a fall and send an alarm.
- Low battery alert: If your phone has a low battery, you will receive an alert to remind you to charge it so you can still use the app.
- Audible alerts: The app emits an audible alert to remind you to check in or out when a session is almost over. This feature reduces the occurrence of false alerts due to forgetting to check out of a session.
- Discreet panic: If you are in a dangerous situation, you may not be able to take out your phone. Instead, you can press your phone’s power button to send a discreet panic alert to your employer. You can access the discreet panic button from your pocket or your purse.
Our lone worker security solution gives you and your employer a way to communicate throughout the day. Companies who hire lone workers choose our solution because:
- It’s easy to use: To take advantage of this new safety tool, all you have to do is press the touchscreen on your phone. Using an ESD is as simple as pushing a button to check in. After a brief training session, you’ll be able to use our lone worker security app to help keep yourself safe on the job.
- It makes you feel safe: When you go to work each day, you want to feel safe. For lone workers, feeling safe requires some extra precautions. Our security solution can provide the peace of mind you need to perform your job more safely and confidently.
- It gives you accountability around the clock: You can use an ESD at any time of the day. Even if you’re working overnight, you can communicate with your employer and stay safe.
- It provides protection all day long: An ESD can help protect you in the event of theft, aggression, accidents and other emergencies. Our security app can provide protection from all these risks so you can focus on your job.
Contact Us to Find Out More About Our Lone Worker Devices
If you’re in the hospitality industry, you will be safer with our lone worker security solutions. The team at Towne services has been serving Pennsylvania and beyond for more than 60 years. We seek to provide seamless integration of people and technology.
To find out about our security services for you and your company, call us at 215-660-0800 or fill out a contact form with any questions you may have.