Tuesday 23 October 2018

Hotel staff to get panic buttons amidst safety and security concerns

A '5-Star Promise' will see ESDs issued to staff at five major hotel brands, our Travel Editor reports

Checking in... Photo: Deposit
Checking in... Photo: Deposit
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Several five-star hotel brands across the US have pledged to provide staff with panic buttons, or 'Employee Safety Devices' (ESDs), in a move to improve hotel safety.

Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Wyndham made the pledge as part of a broader push to strengthen safety and security measures for employees.

The '5-Star Promise', announced by the brands together with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), also commits to "enhanced policies, trainings and resources that together are aimed at enhancing hotel safety, including preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault".

Asked whether its members had considered similar steps in Ireland, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said it had "no reported incidents of this kind."

ESDs - or panic buttons, as they are commonly known - can range from handheld buttons or key fobs to devices with loud noise-emitting features or GPS tracking.

Hotel companies in several US markets, including New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Seattle, already provide ESDs to employees, such as housekeeping staff, and are piloting devices in many other markets, the AHLA says.

"Unfortunately, no industry is immune to dealing with sexual harassment," said Katherine Lugar, the Association's president and CEO.

"But we will continue to work, day in and day out, so America's hotels are secure places for all those who work in and visit them."

In Ireland, "many hotels have security cameras on each floor and accommodation staff are issued with radio devices for communication purposes," the IHF added.

"As with all other businesses,  hotels are required to carry out health and safety risk assessments and if there are concerns in any area of the operation, procedures must be put in place to ensure the safety of staff and guests."

The AHLA hopes to see the new US policies implemented by 2020.

Read more:

5,435 new hotel rooms for Dublin - but it's still not enough, Fáilte Ireland says

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