The hotel industry is making great strides in protecting the safety of its workers. Cities and states have begun requiring hotels to provide their staff, especially those who work alone, such as housekeepers, with Employee Safety Devices (ESDs) for summoning help. 

Many more employees will be protected thanks to the hotel groups that have committed to the “5-Star Promise,” new safety standards for staff that includes a stipulation to “provide hotel employees with employee safety devices to help them feel safe on the job.

The results are promising, according to Security Magazine. In just one year, the number of hotel brands that have agreed to participate in the 5-Star Promise has increased from 17 to 56. That encompasses approximately 20,000 hotels employing over a million staff who will be protected.

Given the large percentage of hotel workers who have been threatened or harassed on the job (more than half, according to a survey of hotel workers in Chicago), this is a welcome development. 

So, what’s the problem? Hotels need to choose a safety system that will actually work to keep employees safe.

The city of Miami Beach is a case in point. Last year it passed an ordinance requiring safety devices for hotel employees. But, according to the Miami Herald, some hotels in the city have  simply provided workers with hand-held noisemakers, hoping to satisfy the law, which states that safety devices must “effectively summon prompt assistance to the employee’s location by a hotel or hostel security officer.”

Why Noisemakers Don’t Make the Safety Cut:

Will a simple noisemaker actually protect a housekeeper working alone on a floor? Probably  not. Even if other staff are working in the vicinity, the sound-deadening in the walls between rooms will likely prevent them from hearing the alarm. If security personnel don’t happen to be within hearing range, they are unlikely to know that help is needed. What’s more, the devices are easy to muffle or disarm, and even if heard, they may not be recognized as a call for help. Worse yet, a noisy alarm could “result in more physical harm to the employee” when the perpetrator tries to silence it or take it from the housekeeper, according to hospitality industry consultant Larry Mogelonsky.

What’s more, with noisemakers, it would be nearly impossible to know where to send help, who needs it, and whether it is still needed.

To truly protect hotel workers, alerts from hotel safety devices must reach hotel security, and must include location information, so that help can be sent quickly, and to the right place. The alerts must use a transmission protocol that works in buildings of any and all size and density. And they must convey location information 3-dimensionally, with both the floor of the hotel, and the location on the floor, where the help is needed. 

The city of Miami Beach followed up with a letter to the hotels within its city’s limits, clarifying the law. “Devices such as ‘noisemakers’ do not meet the requirements set forth in the ordinance, as they simply emit loud noise and do not disclose the location of the employee in need of prompt assistance,” the letter said. 

In case of an emergency, you want to ensure that everyone in your building feels protected and safe. RCare’s wireless ALP Hospitality Suite can help. This reliable and durable hotel crisis system uses military-grade RF, a signal protocol proven to be far more reliable than WiFi or Bluetooth, to ensure every alert is received. It has a wide listening range, even in the oldest buildings with challenging infrastructure. It uses Advanced Locating Protocol (ALP) to send location information with every call, so valuable time isn’t wasted determining where help is needed.

Want to know more about hotel duress systems? Contact RCare to find out how they can enhance safety and security for your hospitality staff.

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