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Active Threat Preparedness

Preparing employees for an active threat can appear to be a very daunting challenge. While this is a very difficult topic to talk about, there are some simple pathways to success. For example, training should focus on empowering employees with confidence to trust their instincts. Highlight the importance of “See Something, Say Something” and most importantly, tell the employee who they should say something to. The reality is that active threat training is a leadership issue. Arming your employees with common sense survival strategies for an active threat incident is in keeping with the fundamental leadership principle of “taking care of your people.”

What are some of the steps hotel staff should take during an active threat situation to keep themselves, staff, and guests safe?

Active threat incidents happen very quickly and are almost always over before law enforcement arrives. Therefore, an adequate active threat training program will give your employees the confidence to take decisive action at the first sign of trouble. The second key is clear communication with coworkers and guest so they can move to safety quickly. Thirdly, rapid notification of law enforcement resources is essential to establishing order. Lastly, adequate strategies on how to stay safe until law enforcement arrives are critical for employee and guest safety.

What responsibilities do staff have when it comes to rescuing someone who is trapped or injured in an emergency situation?

Personal safety is a personal choice and we cannot demand or expect employees to place themselves in danger to initiate a rescue. The most effective way to assist in the rescue of coworkers or guest is to give actionable information to responding law enforcement resources. This can be achieved through technology solutions such as access to interior cameras and a sound communication strategy to account for employees/guests and their locations inside the crisis site.

What do employees get out of active threat situation training?

Always remember that knowledge increases confidence, confidence increases decisiveness, and it is decisive action during a critical incident that saves lives. When your organization facilitates active threat training, what you’re actually accomplishing is giving your employees the “Gift of Safety.” The strategies shared with your employees to be used at work during an active threat are the same strategies they should use to be safe at their children’s school, a hospital, amusement park, or even when traveling abroad.

The Department of Homeland Security has important information on recognizing warning signs as well as how to respond during and after these situations.  The following links have been provided for you to review:

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_pocket_card.pdf

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_poster.pdf

We encourage you to share this information with your team.

Ergonomics/ Overreaching in the Workplace

Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.  Housekeeper’s duties can be intense and very demanding on one’s body.  Repetitive motion injuries are a type of injuries and illnesses that results from weeks, months and years of overuse in human bodies. Because of how slow some of symptoms start, people sometimes ignore these conditions until the symptoms become chronic and permanent injury occurs.   However, not all pain will result in long-term disability and your muscles heal very quickly.  Extreme muscle pain will usually diminish within a few days when managed properly. HSS has implemented a number of programs on how to reduce these risks through awareness and safety education.

Some injury risk factors are:

  • Over exertions, including pushing heavy carts and using vacuum cleaners
  • Awkward postures while cleaning bathrooms and making beds
  • Repetitive motions, such as cleaning mirrors and changing pillowcases
  • Maintaining postures for long periods
  • Improper bending and lifting i.e. not using your knees
  • Inadequate rest

Tips for minimizing these injuries include:

  • When making beds, do not bend. Position yourself near the bed and keep your back straight
  • When cleaning surfaces, switch off which arm you are using to allow the other arm to rest
  • When moving carts, keep the heaviest or most commonly used items between your chest and hips – you have more strength in this part of the body
  • Wear comfortable, slip resistant shoes
  • Periodically stretch your back, arms and shoulders
  • Eat healthy, exercise and sleep well

Struck By Accidents in the Workplace / Behavioral Based Safety Audits

The hospitality industry is very physically demanding and requires attention to detail.  HSS has done a great job in proactively reducing injuries by our very aggressive approach to weekly safety training’s. Safety training’s have been key in the reduction of injuries, but we still have much work to do.  In 2017, 28% of all of our workers compensation claims were due to employees being struck by, and, or against what was around them.  This could be anything from furniture, doors, counters, walls, housekeeping carts, elevators, tools, etc.  When employees are in a hurry, they tend to stop paying attention to what is around them.

It only takes a split second for someone to bump their knee against furniture, hit their head as they bend over to clean the floors, or fail to move their fingers in time to avoid getting them smashed by doors.  What can we do to prevent these types of injuries? We have to make sure employees are following already established HSS policies and procedures.  Injuries occur when employees ignore these policies and procedures to do their jobs as quickly as possible.

The most effective way to prevent these types of injuries is for our supervisory staff to conduct Behavioral Based Safety Audits.  Taking the time to observe our employees as they work will allow us to identify the root cause of these injuries.  Some common causes of accidents include employees failing to use door stoppers, failing to wear required personal protective equipment (PPE), failing to remove hazards on the floors, failing to inspect tools before each use or simply rushing to complete a task.

Once unsafe behaviors have been identified, we can stop that behavior and coach our employees on proper procedures.  This will allows us to keep safety as a top priority and help us in proactively stopping work related injuries. Since we are already visiting our customers every single day, it is a perfect opportunity for our supervisors to take a few minutes to observe our employees working. We will not only be able to provide a better quality of service to our customers but will also help employees avoid work related injuries.

Safety in the Workplace

Did you know that the Hospitality Industry has one of the highest rates of non-fatal falling accidents?  According to the National Safety Council, in 2013, Hospitality came in third (after Education and Retail) for the highest rate of slip and fall accidents with 18,900 cases being reported nationally.  That’s actually more than Mining and Manufacturing falls combined! During 2017 HSS experienced approximately 117 slip and fall injuries with an estimated cost of $1.6M!

HSS is committed to preventing on-the-job injuries to our employees as they come at a cost to both our injured employee and HSS.  For our employees, dealing with the pain of the injury can be physically and mentally difficult.  Injuries resulting in chronic pain can make a person feel hopeless and lead to a reduced quality of life off-the-job.  In addition, there is the possibility of lost wages due to temporary or permanent disability.  This can significantly add to the stress that the injured employee is already feeling.

For HSS, losing a good employee due to injury can result in lost productivity and failure to adequately service our clients.  There are also the costs associated with the training of a replacement employee if the injured employee cannot return to the job or loses substantial time from work.  If there are significant accidents, it will further lead to higher insurance premiums and claim costs resulting in reduced profitability and competiveness. So how do we avoid slip and fall injuries at HSS?

First, by training our employees on the specific actions and risks that may lead to slips and falls.  Training and re-training will keep safety on the forefront of everyone’s mind.  It is the responsibility of all HSS employees to adhere to the training and to help other employees they observe acting unsafely.

Second, we are evaluating the usage of properly rated slip resistant footwear and will be providing additional information on that in the near future.  Proper slip resistant footwear can reduce the risk of slips and falls by up to 80%.