When you think of dangerous jobs, working in a restaurant or hotel doesn’t usually come to mind. After all, unlike the police or firefighters, employees in the hospitality industry don’t put their lives at risk. In fact, they usually deal only with regular people who come for a meal or a short stay. Seems fairly simple, doesn’t it?
But even among those regular people, you can come across some that don’t have the best intentions. Actually, hospitality industry workers are at quite a risk of getting attacked or assaulted by guests. Women, in particular, are in danger — around 58% of female hospitality employees report that they’ve been sexually harassed at work.
Aside from guests, a lot of other things can endanger your workers. For instance, they may suffer injuries from carrying heavy loads or even get caught up in a natural disaster. Fire is another potential threat to your employees’ safety, and it’s much more common than you think.
So, how do you make sure your employees stay safe and free of injuries as they work? Well, there are many preventative and emergency measures you can put in place. And if you’re not sure which ones exactly, we’ll gladly share some of our favorites.
Use Instant Messaging Tools for Emergencies
If a fire has started in some part of your hotel or restaurant, your first step should be to evacuate everyone. That can be a problem in a large building, though. Many of your employees may not even know what happened, and relaying information to them can be challenging.
Obviously, tracking everyone down on your own is out of the question. Emergency alarms might be a good idea, but they only convey a single message — evacuate. So instead, use an instant messaging tool to send out warnings and instructions to your staff. The message format allows you to give your employees some context and direct them to a specific exit if you need to.
Always keep the “read receipt” feature turned on, though. During an emergency, it’s important to know exactly who read the message and who didn’t. If someone doesn’t read your warning for a few minutes, you’ll need to find a different way to reach them.
Do Emergency Drills
The worst thing you can do during an emergency is panic. As soon as panic takes over, so will chaos, and then there’s no telling what might happen. For that reason, it’s crucial that both you and your staff keep your heads cool.
That’s easier said than done, though. Most people can’t stay calm and collected in a life-threatening situation, and it would be strange to expect them to. Instead, what you can do is prepare your staff for an emergency through drills.
Of course, emergency drills can’t fully prepare anyone for the actual experience. However, they do provide a safe environment in which you and your staff can practice your roles and learn how to behave. Then, if you find yourselves in a real emergency, you’ll have this training to fall back on. And trust us, it makes a world of difference!
Have Your Employees Carry Panic Buttons
But what should you do about small-scale emergencies that affect only one employee at a time? For instance, if a guest attacks your staff member, how would you find out and send help? Security cameras may be a good solution in the corridors, but you can’t possibly install them everywhere.
Luckily, there are other ways to track down employees in danger. Perhaps the most popular one is using a wearable panic button. These buttons are tiny and inconspicuous but real life-savers in certain situations. Once your employee presses it, the button will send out a signal to your hotel or restaurant security. The security will then quickly locate where the alert is coming from on their smartphones or tablets and head there immediately.
These buttons work for all sorts of emergencies — from assault and harassment to injuries and heart attacks. Thus, they are an absolute must in every branch of the hospitality industry!
Have Your Staff Work in Pairs When Possible
Most managers tend to delegate different tasks to different employees, assuming that more can be done that way. And while that may be true, everyone working separately has some major drawbacks as well. The biggest one is, of course, that your employees are more vulnerable when they’re alone.
Of course, they still could be assaulted or harassed, even in pairs. But the likelihood of that happening is much lower since the other person in the pair can call for help or fight back. Thus, just pairing your employees up will significantly improve their safety and give them peace of mind.
On top of that, if your employees need to lift or carry something heavy, it’s better if there are two of them. When you send only one to complete such a task, the risk of injury is much greater.
Without your employees, your hotel or restaurant would not be what it is. For that reason, you need to make sure they stay safe and injury-free no matter what situation they face. That may not be as easy as it sounds, but you’ll find that our tips will be of great help. Don’t just hope that nothing bad will happen to anyone — set measures in place to make sure of it!
Guest post courtesy of Emma from Roar for Good