Tag Archives: hotel workers

California considering hotel housekeeper regulation

California’s state-run OSHA program has proposed a standard to prevent musculoskeletal injuries among hotel housekeepers. Read on to find out more about the effort and how long it’s been on the drawing board.

California osha housekeeping injury prevention

For years, advocates for hotel housekeepers have been pushing for a regulation to protect these workers, who are exposed to significant risks on the job. In January 2012, the union UNITE HERE filed a petition with the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) requesting the adoption of a standard to address a variety of hazards, including limiting the square footage that can be assigned to a worker during an eight-hour shift.

Read entire article at Safety.BLR

 

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping, Injuries, OSHA, Risk Management, Workers' Compensation

How to Prepare for Potential Threats to Security

Daniel Johnson, CHA, serves as a hotel analyst for Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible and is vice president of operations for Argeo Hospitality. Here, he sits down with LODGING to answer one of the most pressing issues he believes hoteliers face.

hotel security

In light of recent security issues, as a hotel outside the U.S., what should we be considering in our day-to-day operations?

There have been numerous incidents in the U.S. and abroad and, in October, a celebrity had her room intruded upon by individuals dressed as police officers in Paris. Preparedness is not something that comes when there is a news story to scare you into a concern. It has to be an integral part of the operation from day one in an unending and enduring effort to remain vigilant. You have to have a plan. Period. It’s not a suggestion, it’s not a recommendation, it’s a requirement. When it comes to your hotel, devise a plan for the possibilities you face and tailor reactions for your specific operation. First, remember that you can plan but you can’t plan for every eventuality. You can, however, train, train, train. Once your plan is in place, train your staff on it, then train again, then analyze the results, then train again. Having a third party review your plan is never a bad idea.

Second, know your hotel’s exterior like the back of your hand. In order to gain access, individuals have to cross your grounds, parking lot, delivery points, or some other means of entry. What are your strengths and weakness? How is the lighting? Is there anything that needs to be addressed with security or surveillance?

Third, encourage your staff to meet and greet. Every guest, every visitor, every vendor should be greeted with a smile and a question, “May I help you?” These are opportunities to wow your guests that also double as a chance to pay attention to the comings and goings within the building.

 

See complete article from Lodging Magazine

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Hotel Security, Risk Management

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.

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

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.

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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

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?

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping, Human Resources

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.

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership

Cart Prepping for Efficiency

A well-organized and well-stocked housekeeping cart is the key to efficiency. It enables room attendants to avoid wasting time looking for a cleaning item or making trips back to the linen room for more supplies. The specific amounts of items loaded onto a cart will vary according to the types of rooms being cleaned, the amenities offered by the property, and, of course, the size of the cart itself. A room attendant’s cart is generally spacious enough to carry all the supplies needed for a half-day’s room assignments.

housekeeping cart

Stocking the Cart
Most carts have three shelves—the lower two for linen and the top for cleaning supplies and amenity items. It is just as important not to overstock a cart as it is not to understock. Overstocking increases the risk that some items will be damaged, soiled, or stolen in the course of cleaning.
In most cases, all the cleaning supplies for the guestroom and bathroom are positioned in a hand caddy on top of the cart so that the room attendant does not have to bring the entire cart into the room.
A laundry bag is usually found at one end of the cart and a trash bag is at the other. A broom and vacuum are also positioned on either end of the cart for easy access. For safety and security reasons, personal items and room keys should not be stored on the cart.

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Filed under Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping, Maintenance

Managing the Storeroom Right

When hotels talk about inventory management, it is usually in terms of rooms—you can’t make money without guests in rooms, whether it is a guestroom, meeting room, or ballroom. But let’s step back and think about what it takes to ensure you have those rooms ready for weddings, groups, family reunions, conferences, and individual travelers.

Have you ever had to scramble to a Plan B solution because you were out of stock on a repair item, such as a joint for the bathroom sink or paint to touch up the trim, or inexplicably ran out of light bulbs? What did it cost you to send someone out on a special run to pick up that item or move a guest to another room while you waited for the part to fix that sink? Even without a maintenance problem, turning rooms can be delayed if your staff does not have the cleaning items needed to do their jobs, despite the significant amount of money you budget for those supplies.

managing housekeeping cart

As you can imagine, the concept of inventory management is one that can apply to the products used to maintain and repair your hotel to keep it running at optimum levels as well.

Through research, Grainger discovered that among organizations surveyed, employees leave the supply closet empty-handed 22 percent of the time because they cannot find what they’re looking for. It could be because that item is misplaced, out of stock, or being used by someone else in the hotel. Whatever the cause, the item isn’t there when needed, despite the investment you made to purchase and stock that item. The chances are extra products will be purchased to fix that specific issue, and the worker will either hold on to that extra for fear of needing it again and not being able to find it, put it where he or she believes it goes (which may not be the same place other workers look for it), or place it where it goes and in doing so, find the missing product (because he or she did not see it the first time or it was returned to its proper location after being used). That translates into wasted time and money, and if it happens enough, a world of frustration.

But how can that happen when it seems like your supply rooms are exploding with products, and some of them seem like they have been there for ages? Interestingly, the same research mentioned above also revealed that only 5 percent to 15 percent of maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) inventories are frequently used, and an equal percentage of the items are duplicated—because you cannot afford to not have a backup supply. You want to avoid having too much of an item, yet do not want to be caught without enough to meet immediate needs. You want to ensure the right products are in the right place at the right time with minimal expense and effort.

Inventory management programs can help. Whether you choose to manage your MRO inventory yourself or have the supplier manage it for you, there are benefits to be gained. A systematic approach based on real usage data can help you make sure you have the right products on hand to maintain your facility, without over investing in items that you don’t need.

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Filed under Maintenance, Management And Ownership

Keeping Hotel Housekeepers Safe

A hotel housekeeper’s duties can be grueling and intense – and can result in serious injuries.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2013 shows that hotel and motel workers had a nonfatal injury and illness rate of 5.4. The rate for all industries was 3.5.

“As more amenities continue to be offered in hotel rooms, housekeepers often are having to work even harder and more quickly,” said Gary Allread, program director of the Institute for Ergonomics at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Housekeeping

Advocates are calling for stronger protections and better ergonomics training for hotel housekeeping workers.

More work, more hazards

In 2012, hospitality workers union UNITE HERE sent a petition to the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. The petition called for a standard to protect hospitality workers as hotels compete to offer more luxurious settings for their guests. Upgraded mattresses can weigh more than 100 pounds, UNITE HERE claims, and bath linen is larger and heavier – putting housekeeping workers at risk of overexertion. More amenities, such as larger mirrors and TVs, have to be cleaned.

“What you’re seeing now when you go into the hotel room, it’s not just two pillows on a bed, it’s four or five,” said Lorne Scarlett, industry specialist with the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia, also known as WorkSafe BC. “That process they go through stuffing a pillow, they’re doing that four to five times per bed. The cleanliness of the room is scrutinized by the larger, luxury hotels. They’re not just doing a light dust. They’re doing a very determined clean each time.”

According to Ohio State University, other injury risk factors are:

  • “Forceful exertions,” including pushing heavy carts and using vacuum cleaners
  • Awkward postures while cleaning bathrooms and other areas
  • Repetitive motions, such as cleaning mirrors and changing pillowcases Maintaining postures for long periods
  • Little rest

“The good thing is we can reduce those risks through just plain, out-front awareness and education,” Scarlett said.

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Filed under Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Injuries, Risk Management, Training, Workers' Compensation

How Your GMs Manage Their Staff

Regardless of their age, most general managers have long to-do lists each day to keep their hotels running smoothly. But when a young professional earns the title at an early stage in their career, the role comes with a unique set of challenges. Being a young general manager requires a relatively unseasoned professional to manage employees who may be older and more experienced in hospitality. During an AH&LA Under 30 Gateway webinar titled, “How to Become a GM by 30,” three general managers discussed how to gracefully establish one’s place as a young leader.

 

Business meeting

“Being a young leader in this industry, you come across many people of different ages and backgrounds, and you need to learn to manage them in different ways. It’s important to connect with them on a personal level and not try to come in as a young leader and just take charge. Understand that people who are older than you are probably seasoned in the industry and have a lot of knowledge they can share with you about service or the property you’re working at. It’s important to keep an open mind and always take feedback. There will be hard times when you need to have conversations with employees who may be older than you or the same age as you, because you’re their leader.”

Nikki Carlson, General Manager at the Tuscan Inn, Noble House Hotels & Resorts in San Francisco, Calif.

“There will always be more seasoned individuals in the industry than yourself, and that can be a challenge, but building that personal connection with employees can help smooth over any situation. If they know that you care about them genuinely, then they’ll do anything for you.”
Jennifer Wilt, General Manager at Aloft Leawood/Presidian Destinations in Kansas City, Mo.

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Training