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8 & 9 SEPT 2020

ExCeL LONDON

It’s Health and Safety Gone Mild!

Oh no, here comes another of those articles about health and safety! Better brace yourself for another load of clichés, thinly veiled warnings and scare stories about lawyers, big fines and directors going to jail.

But wait a moment. 

Don’t hoteliers deserve a bit of credit for getting it right so much of the time? After all, when did you last have a serious accident, complaint or food poisoning in one of your premises?

In fact, it may well be that your team are spending too much time on health and safety.

We’re not suggesting that you cut corners or take reckless risks. As health and safety specialists nothing could be further from the truth. But you can do a lot to manage health and safety more efficiently; smarter ways of minimising your liability; effective steps to protect your reputation.

Copy with pride

In too many hotels, managers are still wasting time reinventing the wheel, working out complex policies leave the reader uncertain what to do, don’t add much value and waste valuable time.

The fact is, 99% of the risks are the same for any hotel. Best practice is well understood, so start with clear and easy to follow policies and then and focus on the things that make your hotel different.

Make it easy

The best health and safety policies in the world won’t protect your customers and staff if nobody knows about them. There is no point having a health and safety binder gathering dust; you need simple, clear instructions that your team can find and follow.

Better yet, create check-lists. Paper is fine, but if your team can go through all their checks and reviews on a mobile or tablet then you’ve removed another obstacle to getting it done.

Do it regularly

If a member of your team forgets a task, or misses a check, it’s you who takes the rap for not checking up. So, make sure you know what is required and build it into daily schedules and, make sure you have a system clever enough to report back to you.

You may find that your regular calendar is sufficient for scheduling and tracking. But as health and safety management systems become more affordable, consider using a dedicated app for this. Declaration: I work for Saeker, who develop one of these systems.

Prove it

If someone gets food poisoning or has a nasty fall while visiting your hotel surely they’d take action right away? Unfortunately, the law allows claims many years after the (alleged) event. 

So, make sure you keep the details of all incidents, official notices, risk assessments and maintenance tasks. Keep copies of any photos or videos, too. And of-course, make sure it’s filed somewhere you can find it in five years’ time if you are required to defend a claim – whether that is in a filing cabinet or a dedicated system.

In conclusion

Running a hotel group is demanding enough, without spending time on unnecessary health and safety activities. But if make it a part of your everyday business and focus on the basics, you won’t go far wrong.

www.saeker.co.uk

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