The hotel has not observed work health and safety (WHS) compliance that requires everybody involved in the operations within the hotel to play his or her part in fulfilling the obligations as stated in the WHS act. Every organization has the obligation of ensuring that the duties imposed on its officers and the specific people observe the workers because these duties are never transferable (Stranks, J. W. 2010, 59). The hotel failed to comply with all the three levels of WHS duties:
- Officer’s duty of due diligence
- Business owner’s primary care duty
- Workers obligation to ensure reasonable compliance and care.
Duty of the Hotel Officers
WHS describe an officer secretary or director of an organization, the people who are involved in the decision making either partly or fully and the people who have the ability to influence the decisions made in the organization. The managers and the supervisors at the historical hotel are considered officers (Stranks, J. W. 2010, 53). The managers have the mandate of ensuring that the business owner, commonly referred to as the person conducting the undertaking or business under this act, comply with all the obligations stated under the WHS act.
The managers therefore breached the WHS legislation by failing to understand the nature of the business operations taking place in the hotel. They also failed to identify the threats and risks which that were associated with the business. The managers did not ensure availability of enough resources to and activities that would help reduce or eliminate the safety and health risks (Stranks, J. W. 2010, 76). The managers’ obligation under the WHS to put in place relevant processes enables them to receive and consider the information that regards risks, incidences, and hazards that workers and hotel clients maybe exposed to within the business and its surroundings.
The managers breached the WHS act when the failed to ensure that the hotel not only implement but also comply with all the obligations expected from it by the act. It is their duty to carryout verification exercise on the on the use of processes and resources to establish their compliancy level with the workers health and safety act. In short, it would be appropriate to say that the managers did not understand the business operations and were not aware of the risks that existed within the hotel organization (Stranks, J. W. 2010, 146). They also did not understand the hazards and the risks associated with them and were not aware of the best control measures for such hazards. The act expects them to understand the best resources that would be used in eliminating and minimizing the risks associated with the hazards from taking place.
Obligation of the Business Owners
The act refer to the business owners as the person conducting an undertaking or business (PBCU).this may be an individual ,association or even a corporation. It is the duty of PBCU to ensure that workers are safe and are not exposed to any form of risk at work or the surrounding areas. There is no evidence that the PBCU of the historical hotel made efforts of ensuring that health and safety risks are eliminated or reduced (Stranks, J. W. 2010, 210). The PBCU failed to put in place a system that would enable the hotel to identify health and safety hazards with the hotel. They should also ensure that they have a system that helps in determining extent of harm that may result from the hazards and the likelihood of the risks occurring.
Hazards within the workplace
There are various hazards that the hotel is vulnerable to, which are potential sources of danger. The first hazard is the dimly lit location of the hotel. This increase risks such mugging of hotel visitors and members of the staff. This is evidenced by the reported case of an assault on one of the hotel guest. (Stranks, J. 2005, 15) Free unrecorded entries of visitors of the hotel guest also pose a great threat to the security of the visited guests and other hotel guests.
The old lift that is constantly out of order is another hazard that must be looked into with immediate urgency. The constant breakdown is very risky as it can lead to injury to the members of staff or even the guests. The reported case of the old woman who had suffered a stroke due to the default of the lift such points to the seriousness of this issue.
Lack of a written health and safety plan is a real hazard to the hotel workers and the visitors. This means that there are no laid out plans on what to do in case of occurrence of any risk, which the hotel is vulnerable to and staff members may not be aware of their roles in risk prevention and mitigation (O’Fallon, M. J., & Rutherford, D. G, 2011, 17). The health and safety representatives have not gone through the required training and this means that they cannot offer the much needed help whenever there is an occurrence of risk within the premises.
The committee on health and safety lacks the seriousness, which the committee should be accorded. They do not meet regularly and that only means that no briefings and deliberations were made on the reported cases. Arrangement of parties should not appear on the minutes of the health and safety committee’s minutes at the expense of other serious issues (Stranks, J. 2005,83).. The unreliable TCR first aid ,without well trained first aiders and well stocked kits is itself a major cause to worry since first aid is very important to any facility in case of an occurrence of risks.
Tiredness and frustrations witnessed among the staff members could lead to carelessness, which puts the facility at a very tricky safety situation. Induction training enables the workers to fully understand their roles in maintaining health and safety standards within the hotel premises. It would also enable them to know the restricted areas and the measures and precautions to take in case of an occurrence of any of the risks.
The premise also lacks clear instructions on the procedures necessary for risk management. Use of unspecified and unknown chemicals by the housekeeping staff is a hazard, which apart from causing the many absenteeism cases, can also lead to more serious injuries not excluding death (Stranks, J. (2005,97). The chemicals have affected some of the guests in the hotel too and that means that they are very strong.
The risks associated with the hazards
Faulty elevator can cause death to the people on board at anytime without warning. The old lift may not be able to carry a certain number of people but the management is not aware of this fact. The lift can let go any time and crash the people on board into the elevator pit (Manuele, F. A, 2001, 34). There are cases where people have fallen into the empty elevator shafts left open by faulty elevator doors. It is therefore very critical that the management and the health and safety committee should have made necessary arrangements to replace the old lift. This would save the facility from facing such hazard.
Lack of Trained First Aiders
Lack of trained first aider in the facility is a real concern within the facility. The several reported incidents of accidents around the facility require a trained first aider within the premise. The first aiders would be available to deal with the problems and injuries that occur to other workers and the regular absenteeism observed (O’Fallon, M. J., & Rutherford, D. G, 2011, 79). It is a big concern that should there be a major occurrence of risks in the facility and the members of staff need urgent first aid, no one would be able to offer help to the staff.
Unlimited Visitors for the Hotel Guests
The visitors who come into the hotel should register their details and leave their names at the reception. It is important that each guest leave the hotel by 10.00pm.overstaying visitors should be charged a fixed amount to discourage this habit. This would be important to ensure security of the staff members and the hotel guests.
Dimly Lit Areas.
Many risks can be associated with the dimly lit areas. Dimly lit areas encourage criminal activities like mugging, assault, and even rape. The facility can face various charges filed by visitors or even staff members for not doing anything to change the situation(O’Fallon, M. J., & Rutherford, D. G, 2011,127).. It is therefore advisable that the management and the health and safety committee take necessary measures to put up streetlights. This can be done with the help of the local authority.
Treatment of the Risks
The hotel should develop strategies, which would be used to evaluate and treat every kind of risk. The process would involve the development of policies, guidelines and standards, and raise awareness level of the staff members on what not do, for example the case of housekeepers using the unspecified chemical may mean that they were not inducted on the use of chemicals (Stranks, J. 2005,76).. The general staff must be trained on measures to take whenever there is an occurrence of any risk.
The hotel guests should be allowed to a have a minimum number of visitors per day and the visitors must be registered with the receptionists and must be instructed to leave the hotel within a stated time. Security risks have increased in the recent past and cases of terrorism require such facilities to be very vigilant in their security measures (Culp, C. L. 2001, 94). The hotel would have to modify its response towards cases like assaults on guests or staff members by hiring securing guards to secure the area at night. The environment is a security risk and needs the coordination of both the hotel administration and the local government.
The facility would have to implement a hierarchy of control on the above-identified hazards. The facility should adopt this as the standard practice for ensuring safety at the hotel (Manuele, F. A, 2001, 77). The hierarchy is ranked starting with the most effective control measures at the top. The measures include:
- Personal protective equipment
The hotel can physically identify hazards and remove them. The old lift can be eliminated by stopping its usage and until a new one is installed and the unspecified chemicals can be identified and disposed to stop the infections workers go through from its usage.
The use of lists would be well substituted by the use of staircases to avoid the occurrence of risks associated with the lift
Engineering can help with the controls of the lift if in case the facility cannot afford one now. The hotel can hire qualified engineers to repair the lift and specify how to maintain it for the benefit of the hotel.
This would require that people who are given responsibilities within the facility must change their ways of handling activities in the hotel. The health and safety committee must do its work and not deliberate on irrelevant matters (Manuele, F. A, 2001, 23). The recruiting personnel must ensure that need staff members are well inducted on the operations of the hotel and on security measures. This would not remove the hazards but it would reduce the exposure of both the staff and the guests to the health and safety hazards.
Personal Protective Equipment
This would include the protective clothing like the safety glasses, gloves, safety footwear, and the hard hats. This is the least effective measures as it might reduce people’s ability and speed to complete various task, but it enables people to work without exposure to health or safety risks
Cost Benefit Analysis
Preparation, prevention, and mitigation of risks could be costly, but the consequences of avoiding them can be devastating. Occurrences of risks have the potential of putting the facility out of business (Hopkin, P. 2012, 43). It would lose customers and at the same time, pay for all the expenses in the process of recovering from the risk occurrence.
The frequent absenteeism by the staff reduces the productivity of the workforce and the guests who are assaulted or affected by the chemicals means that the business loses more customers and may not be making profit in future. It is therefore important for the facility to put in place a serious risk management program, with written down guidelines and supplied to all the people within the facility.
Culp, C. L. (2001). The Risk Management Process Business Strategy and Tactics. New York, John Wiley & Sons
Hopkin, P. (2012). Fundamentals of Risk Management: Understanding Evaluating and Implementing Effective Risk Management. London, Kogan Page.
Manuele, F. A. (2001). Innovations in Safety Management: Addressing Career Knowledge Needs. New York, Wiley.
O’Fallon, M. J., & Rutherford, D. G. (2011). Hotel Management and Operations.
Stranks, J. (2005). The Manager’s Guide to Health & Safety at Work. London, Kogan Page.
Stranks, J. W. (2010). Health & Safety at Work an Essential Guide for Managers. London, Kogan Page.
Appendix 1: RISK ASSESSMENT
|Hazardous chemicals||People and equipment||Casualties and damage to properties|
|Dimly lit areas||Business reputation and people||loss of customers, penalties and fines|
|Lack of first aider||People and business operations||Casualties and business interruption|
|Lack of risk management program||Business reputation, environment, business property and people||Loss of confidence in the business, and lawsuits|
APPENDIX 2: Risk Management Action Plan
|Identify the hazards||List down all the identified hazards|
|Determine the benefits||Carryout a cost analysis on prevention of each specific hazard|
|Set goals||Identify all the goals related to safety|
|Preventive measures||Select the most effective preventive measures.|
|Assess effectiveness of the measures||Carryout evidence-based analysis on the effectiveness of the selected measures.|
|Re-evaluation||The risk management measures would be subjected to constant re-evaluation to identify areas, which need changes.|