Pooling Responsibilities

Almost everyone going on holiday to a warm climate will, at some point, end up in a swimming pool. But the ‘do not dive’ signs and depth warnings don’t always have the desired effect, added to which are huge variations in safety laws. Robin Gauldie assesses the dangers lurking in the depthshotel pool,underwater swimming, pool safety

Clearly, there are risks associated with swimming or even paddling on beaches where strong currents, tides and freak waves can take their toll, as can irresponsible use of powered beach toys like personal watercraft, banana boats and water skis (see ITIJ 193, February 2017, The fast and the furious … and the fatal). Yet swimming pools at resort hotels and holiday villas may ultimately be riskier than beaches for vacationers and their insurers. Travelers from countries such as Australia and the UK, where safety standards are rigorous, need to be made aware that such standards are not universal.
“As Australia has such strict water safety rules, some people assume swimming areas are safe everywhere in the world,” comments Richard Warburton, chief operating officer of 1Cover Travel Insurance, an Australian insurer. “The truth is, many popular overseas destinations, such as Thailand and Bali, just don’t have the same safety protocols in place, and holidaymakers may be at greater risk when swimming. For example, pool gates are virtually non-existent in many Asian and European destinations.”

Resort pools seem to provoke risky behaviour in a significant number of holidaymakers too. Each holiday season brings a crop of media stories covering accidents – sometimes fatal – involving tourists jumping into hotel pools from balconies, or diving into shallow pools. “Some people, particularly young adult males, take risks they wouldn’t normally take if they were at home,” says Warburton. “They don’t think of consequences.” There is an ongoing need to make insureds aware that travel insurance has its limits, he adds.

In Europe particularly, the craze known as ‘balconing’ is often a result of an alcohol-fuelled night out giving holidaymakers a sense of invincibility. Warburton, though, warns: “One of the most common misconceptions people have about travel insurance is in relation to alcohol consumption. If an accident happens and a person is under the influence, they may not be able to successfully make a claim, depending on the circumstances. This is why we encourage customers to thoroughly read all the terms and conditions of their policy. We strive to be as transparent as we can, educating customers about all facets of the policies. We want to ensure people fully understand what their policy covers them for, so they can make properly informed decisions.”

According to Megan Freedman, executive director of the US Travel Insurance Association, insurers in the US would be unlikely to turn down claims for the costs of medical treatment or assistance arising from such accidents on the sole grounds of recklessness. “Claims would not be excluded based on irresponsible behavior. However, a claim may be denied if the cause was use of alcohol or drugs, intentional self-infliction of harm or an illegal act,” she says. Some policies in the UK, by contrast, specifically exclude claims resulting from falls or jumps from balconies, as accidents and subsequently expensive medical claims resulting from such activities have arisen so often.

Preventing tragedies
Reckless teenagers, however hair-raising their escapades, are not the only source of claims arising from pool accidents. Even in destinations that are famed for their beaches and long coastlines, such as Greece or the Algarve, almost all drownings of young children occur in swimming pools, according to the European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA). In Australia, too, tourist-related swimming pool deaths involving very young children continue to be of concern, according to the Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC). The organisation has called on the tourism industry to implement water safety and risk management plans in resorts and hotels, including signage, effective barriers and education programs.
In many destinations, most such drownings occur in pools at private residences, but a significant number happen in the pools of resort hotels or holiday villas, as is the case with the much more numerous non-fatal accidents that take place in and around swimming pools each holiday season. The ECSA has estimated that for every child fatality, there may be as many as 140 near-drownings resulting in hospital admissions.

More on the article: http://bit.ly/2kX2s9b

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High Wind Warning in Southwestern California

PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM TO BRING DAMAGING HIGH WINDS TO SOCAL…

A strong Pacific storm system will move across Southern California today through Saturday. Winds will increase and become very strong towards midday. The strongest winds and biggest potential for damaging wind gusts between 2 PM and Midnight. More info on the storm from Google Alert

Does your hotel have an emergency response plan in place? Does your staff know how to respond to severe weather emergencies? This short video will cover proper steps to prepare your staff on how to respond to these type of emergencies.

Petra, Severe Weather, Hotels, california

 

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Filed under Business Interruption Insurance, Claims, Flood Insurance, Hotel Industry, Hotel Restaurant, Insurance, Liability, Risk Management, Severe Weather

Lawsuit Alert-Hotels Renting to Minors

alert

Friday, January 13, 2017

In recent days, CH&LA and AAHOA members in California have been receiving demand letters for refusing to rent to unaccompanied minors. The person at the center of these claims (Jonathan Asselin-Normand) is continuing his long-running campaign against California hoteliers.

This time the complainant seems to be targeting properties through third party online booking sites. In most cases, a demand letter is accompanied by a draft lawsuit. Please be on the lookout for mail or an email from this person.

Both the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit blanket policies denying accommodations to people solely because they are unaccompanied minors. Violations can result in monetary damages and the payment of attorneys’ fees.

Click HERE to read CH&LA’s alert.

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership

Keeping Your Employees Safe and Productive

Retaining talent is a universal business concern. It is especially important in the leisure and hospitality industry, which has the highest workforce turnover rate among private sector industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.(1)

When employees become injured or seriously ill as a result of their job it can affect temporary or long-term staffing in the workplace. For reference, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the hospitality and leisure industry experienced over 90,000 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in 2013 – fully ten percent of all recorded private industry incidents that year.(2)

When employees get injured on the job, not only are they unable to perform their duties, but business operations and employee morale can also be negatively impacted.

Work Injury reporting

An important step hotel managers can take to prevent and control work-related injuries or illnesses is to create a culture of safety in the workplace. This goes beyond taking precautions to prevent injuries from occurring, but also knowing how to respond quickly and appropriately in the event someone gets injured or becomes ill. It involves ensuring that employees receive the appropriate care they need to get well and also having plans in place to facilitate the employee’s transition back to work.

More on the article: http://bit.ly/2jAZqLt

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Human Resources, Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation

Petra will be at CH&LA’s New Year, New Laws Seminar – Anaheim

If you are near Anaheim, CA, you don’t want to miss CH&LA’s annual seminar on the new laws affecting hoteliers in 2017.
Our very own Todd Seiders, Director of Risk Managment, will be presenting at the seminar.

Register today at CH&LA

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Filed under ADA, Bed Bugs, Conferences, Employee Practices, Food Illnesses, Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping, Human Resources, Legislation, Management And Ownership, OSHA, Pool And Spa, Privacy, Risk Management, Technology

Mitigating the Risk of Food-Borne Illnesses at Hotels

Think of a hotel located near a stretch of bucolic farmland. Picture the large fields of crops, cows and sheep grazing behind picturesque fences. While this may seem like a calm and relaxing scenario, one that attracts guests eager to get a taste of the country life, they could be getting a mouthful of something much less appetizing. Flies are abundant in areas with livestock, and, unfortunately, can transmit food-borne diseases.

Ron Harrison, Ph.D., a technical services director at pest control specialist Orkin, is currently working with a number of hotels suffering from pest problems, and, as a result, compromised food safety. “Hotels have to do everything they can to ensure that pests don’t enter the property, because they can cause food-related illnesses if they get access to the property’s food supply,” Harrison says.

food borne

Pests are just one of many factors that can affect food safety and spread food-borne illnesses, which are a major issue in the United States. Francine Shaw, president of Food Safety Training Solutions, a company that offers food-related consulting and training services, says that food poisoning affects one in six Americans every year. And, in that same time frame, it also causes the hospitalization of 120,000 people and leads to 3,000 deaths. “It seems like every time we turn on the television, pick up a newspaper, or read the news online, there’s another outbreak. But the amazing thing is that the huge, multi-state outbreaks spotlighted in the news are only responsible for 11 percent of all food-borne illnesses,” she explains.

More on the article: http://bit.ly/2f1XGrZ

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Filed under Business Interruption Insurance, Claims, Food Illnesses, Guest Issues, Health, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Hotel Restaurant, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

Hotel Workers Seek New Safety Measures After Freezer Death

Federal regulators and hotel employees are calling for new safety measures after a worker was found dead inside a walk-in freezer at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta.

Investigators believe Carolyn Mangham spent about 13 hours at temperatures below minus 10 Fahrenheit. Her frozen body was found after her husband called the hotel to report her missing.

Devices should be placed inside the large freezers so that anyone trapped or injured inside could send an alarm directly to hotel security or emergency services, union leaders say.

Hotel employees also want to carry “panic buttons” to alert others to emergencies.

freezer trapped alarm

“At the end of the day everyone deserves to go home to their families,” said Wanda Brown, who worked with Mangham at the hotel and is president of the Atlanta chapter of the UNITE HERE union.

“We’ve given our demands to the hotel and we are waiting for a response, but we will not stop asking for these things to be done,” Brown said.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing about $12,500 in penalties for a serious safety violation in the death of Mangham, 61, who also went by Carolyn Robinson.

In a Sept. 23 letter, OSHA recommended that the Atlanta hotel voluntarily develop a system of “notification and ongoing communication” for workers entering the walk-in freezers. The agency also recommends the hotel develop a system to periodically check on employees during their shifts.

“The OSHA report is part of an ongoing process and we are planning to contest their findings and recommendations,” Carrie Bloom, a Starwood spokeswoman, said in a statement Wednesday night.

More on the article: http://nyti.ms/2dT3p0u

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Showing Housekeeping Staff Appreciation

Housekeepers are an integral part of the hotel industry, and employee appreciation is a professional form of endearment that not only boosts the morale of the workplace but also the quality of work being produced, with 91 percent of workers saying they feel motivated to do their best when they have leadership support. Madeline Chang, director of housekeeping at Aston Waikiki Sunset in Honolulu and director at large of the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), explains why hoteliers should take a second look at how they appreciate their housekeeping staff.

housekeeping
How can hoteliers be better attuned to their housekeepers’ needs?
Housekeepers are the eyes and ears of any operation. They have a direct impact on your guests’ experience, so it’s important to listen to them and hear the challenges or frustrations they might be experiencing. While you can create an open-door policy that establishes a channel for them to communicate with you, not all housekeepers will do that, so you should take the time to regularly walk the floors and speak with them directly. Hold daily morning briefings (which is a must not only for them but for me to set the tone for the day), carry out observations, get them to communicate their thoughts and suggestions, and make them an integral part of the operation. This buy-in from the management team and teammates is extremely helpful. Always keep them in the loop.

What are some ways in which hoteliers are already getting it right with housekeeper appreciation?

More on the article: http://bit.ly/2dqGivT

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The Impact of Training on Your Bottom Line

Training is an important aspect in every hotel as it is the basis for cultivating superior guest service, maintaining costs, retaining employees and increasing profitability. While some owners and operators may question the return on investment (ROI) of training, the effects of not placing importance on consistent, ongoing staff training can be far greater over the long run. Preparing employees for situations, outlining role responsibilities and explaining how they are important in overall success can lead to happier employees, alleviate misunderstandings, skirt potential issues and result in better guest experience. That leaves more time for staying focused and creating a positive guest experience.

Select a Training Method to Meet Your Property’s Needs

The good news about staff training is there are different methods to embrace for achieving your property goals. What often occurs is training becomes a mixture of solutions.

Outside Speakers

Hotel owners and operators may utilize outside speakers to visit a property ranging from brand representatives, motivational speakers to notable local personalities.

Employee Handbook

Most properties assemble an employee handbook for new hires, while branded hotels may pay to send a representative to conduct training sessions on their brand. The key to effective training is assuring the handbook is comprehensive and continually updated to reflect changes in roles, responsibilities, policies, etc.

Click to read the article: http://bit.ly/2dEgrkK

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Hotel, travel industries join forces to urge congressional action on Zika funding

There are daily headlines about the Zika virus. Although local transmission of the disease is currently contained within a very limited space in southern Florida, public uncertainty abounds—especially around the state and among those with any plans to travel there. State and federal public health officials are working with the resources available to them—but the U.S. Congress, mired in election-year politicking, has failed to advance a Zika funding measure.

Zika

That needs to change immediately. Safeguarding the public health, on its own, demands action. But not to be dismissed is the potential economic damage to the Floridian and national economies simply because people are too apprehensive about Zika to go about their daily lives.

Travel avoidance due to Zika fears poses a serious challenge to our nation’s travel industry, which generates $2.1 trillion in economic output for the U.S., drives job creation across the United States, and is among the top 10 employers in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Travel and tourism has continuously played a major role in our country’s post-recession recovery. Continued inaction on Zika funding puts this recovery—and millions of American jobs—on shaky ground.

For more info: http://bit.ly/2dkhNRK

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Filed under Guest Issues, Health, Hotel Industry, Hotel Restaurant, Housekeeping