There are 15 million Americans currently working in the hospitality industry. These workers are in contact with the public at all times and work in buildings and areas that have common safety hazards. One of the best things you can do as an employer in the hospitality industry is to make sure your employees are protected. Not only is that the ethical and legal thing to do, but it also helps your business. Keeping your staff safe means fewer hours lost to injury or illness, maintaining productivity levels, and better morale for your staff. It’s a win-win.
That said, the hospitality industry has a wide range of businesses and potential situations that can lead to harm. Therefore, it’s important as a business owner that you do as much as possible to anticipate any possible source of danger for your employees and work on ways to mitigate the risk. Even if you think a situation is unlikely, it’s still a good idea to be prepared for it, just in case. Here are some of the best practices for protecting your employees in the hospitality industry.
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The only way your staff will know how to take precautions is with the proper training. There may be hazards that some team members aren’t even aware of at your business. You should also train them to spot behaviors that could lead to confrontations and violence. Providing the right training and reinforcing it regularly will help your team focus on safety at all times. Assessing situations and following safety protocols will become second nature instead of being something they do only when told. Make sure that the training you provide is interesting and engaging. You don’t want everyone tuning out because it’s too dry or boring.
Always Have Safety Devices Nearby
Make sure that all of your employees have access to safety devices that will help them in case of emergency. For example, they can have panic buttons at their workstations or attached to their clothing if there is a dangerous situation with a patron. Fire extinguishers and first aid kits should also be available all over the building. You don’t want employees to go long distances or spend too much time finding what they need to keep themselves, their colleagues, or your patrons safe. Every second could count in an emergency situation.
Good communication should be a standard for management practices in general, but safety is even more important. Make sure you regularly provide your staff with safety updates. This could mean letting them know when special training is available or if something has arisen suddenly that needs to be addressed. Keeping your staff apprised of all safety situations will protect them and keep them thinking about safety at all times. Never assume that your employees will notice something dangerous on their own. Instead, let them know and be proactive about it.
Insurance provides protection not just to your business but to your employees as well. For example, workers’ compensation insurance will ensure that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses if an employee gets hurt on the job. However, it also means that the employee will not have to worry about paying the bills while they are off work. Regardless, in most states having workers comp is legally required for any business.
That said, you also want your employees to be safe from harassment and discrimination. While you may not be able to prevent these situations from occurring, you can protect your business and the victim from financial harm. Employment practices liability insurance provides coverage if an employee accuses you or another employee of harassment, discrimination, or wrongful dismissal. As a result, you can get financial compensation, and the employee can as well instead of going through a complicated legal battle.
Have an Open Door
Your employees should never feel they cannot go to you or your human resources department if they have concerns. Concerns can range from unsafe working conditions to personal issues between co-workers to everything in between. If your staff does not feel they can discuss these issues with management, they will fester and grow until they explode. Also, you can encourage reporting of injuries and incidents, even if they seem small. The more documentation you have, the better if there is ever a personal injury lawsuit or other legal issues regarding an injury.
Employing people means having to store sensitive data, including banking information and SSNs. Keeping data secure is not just something you need to worry about for customers. Your employees deserve the same level of respect with regard to their private information. Make sure that all data is stored on encrypted cloud servers or on a password-protected hard drive. Not only can this prevent crimes such as identity theft, but you also don’t want personal information getting into the hands of upset customers or disgruntled employees.
Provide Extra Services
Working in the hospitality industry means dealing with many types of people from all walks of life. Some of those people can be dangerous, unfortunately. Ensure your employees know they can ask for extra protection if needed. If a server requires someone to walk with them through the parking lot to their vehicle, then make sure there is always someone scheduled to help with that. If there are often inebriated guests at the hotel bar, then you should have a security guard on site to handle any issues. Your staff should never feel that their safety takes a backseat to profits or cost savings. Spend the money, and your employees will be grateful.
It might surprise you to learn that hospitality workers get injured at a high rate when compared to other industries. This is because they come into contact with lots of people and potentially unsafe conditions while working a high-stress job. As a manager or owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your staff are as safe as possible and feel secure while performing the duties of their jobs. Following these best practices will put you on the right path.