Lone Worker Security for Hospitality Workers
How panic buttons could help keep your staff safe.
Workers in the hospitality industry, such as housekeeping staff going in and out of rooms alone or night shift managers who work the front desk alone during odd hours, face risk in dealing one-on-one with customers who are strangers to them. Someone who provides cleaning services is often working alone from room to room for hours on end increasing the likelihood for potential confrontations and attacks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2015 and 2017 alone, there were 517 work-related fatalities in hospitality. In 2017, for every 100 full-time workers, there was an average of 3.2 total recordable cases of injury within the industry.
With these statistics in mind, a number of states have begun requiring hotels to outfit their staff with panic buttons. Personal panic alarms or panic buttons allow employees to quickly summon help in an emergency, or even when they feel a guest is becoming aggravated which may lead to verbal abuse and escalating danger. They offer employees support when working alone and mitigate business risk to the employer. Cities with policies already in place include Chicago, New York, Seattle, Miami Beach, Washington, DC, with many others in the proposal or voting stage in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Many hotel chains and boutique establishments have made the decision to get ahead of legislation and now offer personal panic alarms to all of their lone working staff.
Hospitality staff most frequently face social risk – that which comes from people. For housekeeping staff, the danger lies in the very nature of their job going room to room alone, not knowing what might await them. There have been many reported instances of verbal abuse, physical abuse, and sexual harassment and abuse. Housekeeping staff have reported being trapped in rooms, facing intoxicated and irate guests, and even being confronted by guests with weapons.
For night managers, the risk is similar and often exacerbated by the late hours. Intoxicated guests checking in or calling a manager for assistance can easily become frustrated which may lead to misunderstandings and aggression. Night managers, as well as front desk or reception staff, frequently experience verbal abuse from hotel guests which could escalate to physical encounters.
From a business perspective, companies whose workers experience incidents are exposed to the litigious and brand consequences that come with not providing protection. Fines for injuries and costs of lawyers add up, not to mention the effect that a well-publicized incident will have on potential customers. Being ahead of the curve and providing staff with tools to keep them safe may help show that the business upheld their commitment to providing a safe working environment in the case that they are investigated.
Safety at Hand
Equipping hospitality staff with personal panic buttons allows them to do their job without the added stress and uncertainty that comes with lone working. They provide workers with a sense of support knowing that if they push that button, help is on the way.
The SoloProtect ID Pro takes that support one step further with dynamic features built to protect both the worker and the business. Traditional panic buttons are a simple escalation: push the button and police are dispatched. They also tend to only be used when a situation is already in crisis and police or emergency services are needed immediately. With SoloProtect safety solutions, users are encouraged to push the ‘Red Alert’ button early, as soon as they feel uncomfortable. A firm press of the ‘Red Alert’ button opens a one-way communication with our lone worker Monitoring Center where trained professionals are listening, recording, and escalating the call offering a proactive safety solution to employees.
The ID Pro wireless panic alarm is also equipped to offer room level location using Bluetooth Beacons and Wifi sniffing. When the feature is enabled, a ‘Red Alert’ activation will not only allow a Monitoring Center Operator to see the GNSS location of the user but also to pinpoint the specific room they are in allowing responders to find an employee in duress quickly and directly.
For all SoloProtect safety solutions, incident audio is recorded affording employers the unique benefit of event evidence. The ID Pro features the added advantage of body worn video (BWV). When this option is selected, live video, as well as audio, will stream to the Monitoring Center during a ‘Red Alert.’ After a situation there is no “he said, she said,” but instead an actual account of what happened which is available for use should an incident be taken to court or needed by the insurance company.
The SoloProtect ID Pro is a unique and comprehensive panic alarm option to protect hospitality employees working alone. Unlike a cell phone, it does not need to be unlocked to work and presents a discreet way to call for help without escalating a situation. The first thing that an aggressor will do is take away a cell phone, while the ID badge form factor of the SoloProtect ID Pro simply looks like part of the uniform allowing users to immediately connect to the help they need when facing conflict without alerting an aggressor.