Hotels and restaurants attract many tourists for leisure, rest and recreation. Employment in hotels has been increasing continuously with years. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) stated that international traveling for business, leisure, and other purposes had a decreased worldwide by 4% in 2009 to 880 million. On the other hand, there were signs of an increase in the final quarter of the year, when tourist arrivals grew by 2%. According to WCB, an increase in demand for hotel rooms resulted in more construction of new hotels. Growth in the tourism sector increased the demand for employment. Due to these changes in the demand for hotels, they are employing more and more young workers stated by WCB of British Columbia. This shows the needs for recruiting seasonal and part time workers in those industries. They require more workers during the summer season and mostly on weekends, where young workers are readily available to work. Although hotels are seen as places they can have comfort and enjoy, those places are an environment with full of real hazards and accidents. Although Medical and social sciences have done researches, collecting data about physical and mental health of citizens and trying to reduce accidents at work, individuals involving men, women and children continue to suffer from injuries sustained in home, at play and most importantly at work. ” Though a continual watch and record is kept of work accident and these are analyzed at regular intervals by Government departments, safety organizations, and individuals having expertise in safety, accidents continue to happen, Pramod and Govind Swaroop Pathak (2011).
Accidents in Hotel Industry
Hotel industries have the highest proportion of accidents than those in other sectors such as scientific & technical services industry. In the occupational area, disrupted and non-restorative sleep increases the risk of accidents. Furthermore, individuals who do not sleep well tend to have impaired work productivity and to consume more medical resources, Folkard S, Lombardi DA, Tucker PT (2005). Hotel employees are 48% more prone to injuries while working than any other service employees, Liladrie (2010). A survey done in the catering department in Ireland gave the results that even though they had high risks from safety and health hazards, the health and safety procedures were not given the importance they deserve and they had no occupational services to guide them to protect from work-related accidents and injuries.. During their survey, they identified the causes for the high risks of accidents. The cause was that due to the rapid growth in the economy of Ireland, there was a rapid expansion in the Hotel industries; they had to recruit many untrained workers. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Ireland, they estimated that only 22% of the permanent staff in the catering department was trained. They also identified that compared to other European countries; they had a high degree of seasonal workers, temporary workers and young employees. Many employees in the kitchen department in Ireland were unskilled, they lack experience and they were overloaded with work especially during peak seasons. In the fast-track environment of hotels, accidents form part of this industry and it seen as a part of business. However, injuries lead to losses. It includes lost money, lost time and lost productivity. Furthermore, along with the employees, their families also suffer and their lives are disturbed. According to Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) of British Columbia, there are around 8, 900 workers in the hotel and restaurant industries are injured at their workplace every year in British Columbia. An estimation of about more than half of these workers has to take leaves because of their injuries. WCB stated that hotel and restaurant workers have even been killed at their workplace. From the records of WCB, in 1996, hotels and restaurants reported about 6. 3percent of time-loss claims. According to WCB is ” A time-loss claim is a claim for time lost due to an injury that results in a short-term disability, a long-term disability, or a fatality”. The previous statistics recorded by the Workers’ Compensation Board from 1992 to 1996:• 24, 696 time-loss claims were accepted• 616, 674 days were lost from work due to workplace accidents• 10 claims were accepted for fatalities. As many of those injuries were preventable, the injury rates were still higher than could be achieved. The WCB is working with the employers and workers to help decrease the fatal accidents and injuries in the hotels. In hotels, there are also other concerns that should be taken into great consideration. According to WCB, there can be other exposures. It was found that hotel workers at times find used needles and other items at work that could be contaminated with blood and body fluids infected with the viruses that cause HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis B and C. These items have been found between bed sheets, under beds, in garbage containers, and hidden in washrooms. From 1992 to 1996, they reported four cases of getting hurt with needles in the hotel industry. They can be easily infected with only s small exposure to infected blood. The effects are very serious.
Previous records of injuries and its causes in the hotel industry.
Table 1Figure 1 represents the Types of injuries in Hotel Industry since 1992 to 1996 according to WCBTypes of injuries according to the table; Overexertion: 27 percent of time-loss claims. This can be the result when force is applied to an object or person such as lifting, pushing, pulling, and carrying. Being struck by an object: 16 percent as shown in the pie chart. In this case , the worker is injured by a moving object such as equipment and other toolsFalls on the same level: 14 percent of employees affected. For example slips. Falls from elevations: 10 percent of employees affected in the hotel industry. OverexertionThis injury affected 27% of the employees since 1992 to 1996 of the total claims recorded by WCB. There are various ways by which overexertion happensHandling containers such as boxes, cartons, garbage cans, baggage and buckets. Moving furniture for example beds, mattresses and tables. Handling carts. The employees who are mostly affected by overexertion are: Room attendantsWait staffKitchen helpers and laundry workersChefs and cooksStruck by accidentsThis incident affected 16% of all time-loss claims in the hotel industry. The equipment which caused this type of injury was; Knives. Food containers, for example, dishes, bowls, jars. Furniture, for example, tables, chairs, beds. The employees who are mostly affected by this injury are: Chefs and cooksRoom attendantsKitchen helpers and laundry workersWait staffFalls on the same levelThis injury represents 14% on the figure 1 above. According to WCB, more than half of the causes were due to slippery surfaces and the other 12% was due to tripping or rough surfaces. Women were more prone to falls from same level than men. The employees who are mostly affected by this injury are: Room attendantsWait staffChefs and cooksKitchen and laundry workersFalls from elevationThis represents only 10% of all the injuries in the hotel industry. the falls can beon or from stairsfrom objects not designed for standing on (for example, chairs)from laddersThe employees who are mostly affected by this injury are: Room attendantsSports and recreation workersWait staffActs of violence and forceWorkplace violence has become a serious matter in the hotel industry. According to WCB, they recorded around 250 claims which were from acts of violenceOf these 250 claims: there were assaults without a weaponthere were assaults with a weapon such as gun, knifeThere were acts of force, that is, an act where someone is injured in trying to solve another situation; an example can be a waiter who is injured while trying to break up a fight between customers. In the hotel industry, tasks where there were more cases of violence are: Bouncers, door attendantsBartendersWait staffDesk clerks, reservation clerks
Accidents in different departments
Hotels are divided in various departments where each contributes to provide their guests the best of their holidays spent at their resort. Every department has its own working procedures and they do have many problems. One of the most dangerous areas of any hotel is the kitchen. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), accidents occur in kitchens every day. HSE identified the common causes of accidents in Hotels such as ” slips, trips and falls, manual handling which can result in musculoskeletal injuries and exposure to hot or harmful substances”. In the kitchen, fires break down very easily if the procedures are not followed properly. There is evidence that this department has many cases of work-related injuries and diseases, D. Gleeson (2001). They found a high rate of accidents that caused injury. Accidents arising due to use of knives were the most frequent injuries seen such as cuts and lacerations and burns and scalds resulting from the handling of hot liquids. According to Safework South Australia (SA) (2009), there have been a high number of recent incidents causing burns or scalds due to handling of hot liquids and they are investigating into those matters. There are some cases such as on 1st November there was a 17 year old worker suffered burns to a leg after dropping a bowl of hot water. Safework SA stated that these are due to individuals taking on casual work in these industries when they are on holiday and these increases the chances for these kinds of injuries to occur. ” Young people in particular are at greater risk because of their inexperience. We know that common factors behind these types of incidents include unsuitable containers, which may be unstable, have no handles or insulation, are in poor condition or are too large to be easily handled. Adding to the risk factors are unsafe work practices, such as carrying containers of hot liquids across slippery floors, or balancing them on unstable surfaces”, Ms. Patterson, Executive Director (2009). There was another case in November 2007, where the managing director of a Mt. Gambier Hotel were fined an amount of $48, 000 as there was two kitchen male who had burned their hands and they suffered from intense scalding from hot water in separate incidents while working in the kitchen section, Safework SA(2009). A serious level of work-related dermatitis was also identified and recorded. Trainee chefs were seen as an occupational group with a high risk of occupational injury and disease, Gleeson, (2001). According to the Health and safety Authority (HSA) in Ireland and Health and safety Executive (HSE) in UK, the hotel industry have high risks of work-related injuries and accidents, mainly in kitchen department and many of those cases are not reported. The most frequent causes of the work-related injuries which have been identified by the Health and Safety Executive are slips and trips, manual handling, exposure to hazardous substances, hot surfaces and steam, being injured by moving articles like walking into objects, fires, explosions. The most common injuries reported were cuts, lacerations, scalds, burns, blunt injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, according to key fact sheet on injuries reported to local authorities on hotel and catering industries. The Health and Safety Executive identified health hazards in the kitchen department of hotels such as irritants, allergens, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in cooking fumes, noise, smoke, temperature extremes, overcrowding, violence, stress. There are proofs according to D. Gleeson (2001) that the catering department in Hotels has a high risk of getting diseases such as dermatitis, asthma, back pain, work-related upper limb disorder, psychosocial disorder and oral and pharyngeal cancer. However, according to Tom Dillon, USA today, a study revealed that of 40, 000 hotel workers’ incidents at 87 U. S hotels from 1999 to 2005, they found that housekeeping department had the highest injury rate.” Housekeepers often must clean 16 rooms daily. That’s a lot of fluffing, buffing and mattress lifting” Tom Dillon. A study on ” Creating luxury, Enduring Pain” stated that room attendants had a 10. 4% injury rate. They found that it was higher, around 85%, than the 5. 6% injury rate of non-housekeepers. Their research indicated that housekeeper injury rates increased from 2002-2005. A Union UNITE HERE says that heavy mattresses, triple-sheeting and more pillows are the tasks of 90, 000 U. S hotel workers. Room attendants have to lift at least a dozen weighty pillow top mattresses daily which make the job more difficult. This was mentioned by a survey done in U. S questioning the housekeeping department. Francine Jones, a housekeeper in Chicago Hotels, said at a UNITE HERE news teleconference that ” she has worked there 15 years and that a room now takes 15 minutes longer to clean, because of heavier, elaborate bedding and more amenities. The job ” takes a whole lot out of a person’s body. A whole lot,” she said.” An occupational-medicine physician, Peter Orris, analyzed the study results stated that recently at the Cook Country General Hospital, he started consulting more room attendants and they have more complains associated with heavy lifting. They experience muscular skeletal pain. The physician says that ” this is among the highest-stress jobs (on the body) in the service and production industries. This is not just a union-generated thing, this is a real problem. And it looks like it is getting worse.” A Housekeeper, Rosa Martinez revealed that ” The bedding is very heavy. They keep on adding more stuff in the rooms. Many of my co-workers are injured, but they are afraid to speak up.” From Union UNITE HERE, Eric Frumin says that hotels have been decreasing their staff but the workload keeps on increasing without any training provided to them. Furthermore, 91% of GRAs14reported that they are in physical pain while working and 86% of that sample indicatedthat they did not have such pain until after beginning their careers as GRAs. Also according to Liladrie (2010), increasing GRA workloads are stronglycorrelated with musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain, tendonitis, shoulderinjuries, bursitis of the knee, carpel tunnel syndrome, and persistent hand, neck and wristpain. Cheng and Chan (2009) studied 205 workers in various manual labor positions andfound that more than 24% of workplace musculoskeletal injuries are back injuries causedby overexertion.
Causes of the Accidents
Stress is seen as one of the reason of accidents in the Hotel industry. Kuper, marmot, 2003, believed that stress at work has a very devastating effect on the health and well being of employees. Hotel industry is seen as environment full of strains and stresses according to Blaedal et al (2004). Conditions leading to work in a stressed mood, according to Kristensen et al. (2002), are ” hard deadlines, unexpected interactions with quests, long working hours and night and evening work, repetitive work, high emotional demands, low control over work process, shift work, high work pace, long working hours, problem with coordination of work. Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (2002) researchers investigated on health problems among hotel workers and their results showed that ” physical workload, time pressure, low job control, high psychological demands, high job stress ” increase the risk of ill health among employees and cause accidents. An interview was carried by O’Neill and Davis (2011) in 65 separate hotels where 164 employees were questioned. They identified two frequent stressors in the hotel industry. They were ” interpersonal tensions and workloads”. The staff in the hotels that were surveyed stated that those stressors always existed to 40-60% during the work days as compared to 25-44% by U. S employees in other different industries. In the Hotel industry, 50-75% of illnesses have been identified to be the result from stress, (the stressful price, 1978). A survey carried on 58 large employers by Hilton and Whiteford (2010), identified that ” moderated-high physical stress” raised the rate of workplace injuries. Another survey carried by Chiang, Birtch and kwan(2010) on catering sector in a four star hotel discovered that excessive job demands, low control on the tasks and poor work-life balance led to increased levels of stress. The direct cost (primarily workers’ compensation insurance premiums to covermedical treatment, lost time benefits, permanency awards, legal fees and expenses) ofworkplace injuries is estimated at 14-16% of payroll. The indirect cost (lost productivity, employee replacement costs, poor morale, workers functioning in a lesser capacity, andrecord-keeping/administrative fees) associated with workplace injuries is estimated at 42-48% of payroll (Gonser & Weiss, 2008). Implementing safetycommittees in hotels and resorts will reduce the amount and severity of employee accidents. Bypreventing employee accidents, safety committees will increase profitability for hotels andresorts in Hawaii by favorably impacting the bottom line.