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Safe Work Month is a great time to take stock and revisit the things we can all do to stay safe whilst working. Like any other workplace, housekeeping departments are bound by legislation to ensure their workplace is managed and maintained to prioritise the health, safety and welfare of workers.
ahs hospitality understands there are significant benefits beyond just complying with legislation and instead strive for a safety culture where our whole team work together to continually improve our people’s safety.
Below you will see a few key concepts on safety management to ensure you and your colleagues return home in the same way they arrived at work.
Understand and plan
Good safety management starts with good planning. Work with your management and operational teams to understand your safety risks. Risks may be associated with your work activities (e.g. room servicing or public area cleaning) and work locations (including the structural conditions of a property and the geographic location). Document an over-arching safety risk assessment that details these risks and any existing safety controls. This will help your team to identify additional safety controls that can be implemented to further improve safety onsite. Be sure to establish methods to keep track of the new safety controls you want to put in place, so your team do not lose track of the goals you have agreed to achieve!
Implementing the controls to maintain a safe work environment will address an array of topics and activities including:
Assessing and procuring the required equipment, chemicals and cleaning supplies appropriate for the work being undertaken.
Identifying the training needs for different roles and understand how best to deliver this training (online, on-the-job mentoring or ongoing group training).
Developing safe work procedures for work activities such as room servicing, public area cleaning and house-person duties.
Talking Safety! ahs hospitality champion monthly workgroup discussions that are developed by our safety team, delivered by our housekeeping managers, and follow an annual calendar of topics that aligns to our key risk areas.
Ensuring team members report and manage hazards, near misses and incidents that may occur.
We recognise that as a contractor working within their client’s hotel, it is important to partner with our clients to ensure alignment of safety management activities. We ensure that we meet regularly to discuss safety management onsite, share details of incidents and hazards reported and jointly conduct regular workplace inspections.
Review, update and improve
Regular inspections and audits allow your team to identify what is working well and what needs improvement. These activities form the basis of continual improvement and serve as great mentoring activities to improve the safety knowledge and awareness of your team. Take the time after inspections and audits to celebrate those areas working well, this helps maintain team motivation for safety.
Beyond internal inspections and audits, it is important to regularly look outside your business to understand what external factors may have changed that could impact how you need to manage safety. COVID-19 has demonstrated how external factors can impact an industry and how quickly legislation/regulation can change. Safety regulators provide subscription services to update workplaces on changes in their jurisdictions and there are also several paid subscription services available.
There are many benefits of continually improving your workplace safety culture. Plan, Implement, Collaborate and Review, and make every decision in your workday as a Safety Leader. We believe that at ahs hospitality, ‘We are all Safety Leaders’. You can learn more about why to keep safety front of mind here.
Author of this blog, Jay Markland.