Safety at work in hotels and restaurants

In all countries there is Hotels and restaurants, whose economies are closely linked to the tourism, business trips and conferences. Tourism is the main economic sector in many countries.
The main function of a restaurant is serving food and drinks to people outside their homes. There are different types: establishments with several dining rooms and numerous templates (generally expensive); premises and cafes with a "family atmosphere", whose clients usually belong to the same locality; bars whose main activity is to quickly serve food at the bar; restaurants fast food in which the public orders in the bar and in a few minutes it is ready, generally to take away from the establishment, and self-service cafes, where customers choose cooked dishes placed on display stands. Many restaurants They have separate lounges or a bar where alcoholic beverages are served, while others, larger, have rooms for banquets and celebrations. In many countries there are also street vendors with food stalls, which generally belong to the informal sector of the economy.
The main function of a hotels is to give accommodation to guests. There are many kinds of hotels, from hostels and motels where tourists and people stay overnight on business trips, to large luxury complexes, such as leisure centers, spas and congress hotels. Many hotels usually offer auxiliary services restaurant, bar, laundry, gym and medical cabinet, beauty salon, hairdresser, business center and gift shops.
The restaurants and hotels can be run by a person, a family, a group of partners or even by large companies that often, instead of owning an establishment belonging to a chain, franchise their name and style to the owners of the town.
The template of a restaurant It includes chefs and kitchen staff, waiters and heads of rank, bartenders, bar managers, cashiers, and cloakroom staff. In the restaurants larger staff are highly specialized in their functions.
A large hotel usually has receptionists, doormen and bellmen, security staff, garage and parking attendants, room staff, laundry attendants, maintenance staff, kitchen staff and staff among its employees. restaurant and office staff.
The work done in a hotel is mostly manual and the level of education they require is minimal. Today, the bulk of the hotel workforce in developed countries is usually made up of women and immigrants, while in developing countries the local population is reached. Hotel occupancy levels follow seasonal cycles, leading to the coexistence of a small group of permanent employees along with a considerable number of temporary and part-time workers. Generally, the level of salaries is usually medium or low. The high job turnover is due to these factors.
The job outlook is very similar in the case of restaurants, although in these the number of men on staff is usually higher. Salaries are low in many countries, so waiters and helpers' incomes depend largely on tips they receive from customers. In many places tips are automatically included in the account. In fast food outlets, employees are often young people who earn the minimum wage.

RESTAURANTS <br>• Neil dalhouse

Un restaurant may vary in size: from a small restaurant to a large hotel restaurant, and usually comprises three main areas: the kitchen, where food is prepared and cooked; food service to customers in the restaurant, and the bar, a room that offers food and alcoholic beverages, enlivened with music and live or recorded shows.


The kitchen staff includes: chefs and cooks, who prepare and cook food; those in charge of the pantry, whose mission is to prepare the food to be cooked and keep the inventory of supplies up-to-date; and the assistants in charge of cleaning and maintaining the kitchen units.
Various types of accidents occur in kitchens, such as burns with fryers, slipping from grease on the floor or cuts with knives. Lack or shortage of maintenance in the kitchen area can cause accidents. Freshly scrubbed floors should be marked with a “Wet Floor” sign to prevent fall injuries among kitchen staff. Plates and dishes must be stored safely to prevent them from falling. Mats should be placed at the entrances and exits, and the wax applied to the floor in these areas must be non-slip. Boxes, garbage cans, or other obstacles should never be left in the hallways. If there are loose tiles, exposed cables, substances spilled on the ground or there is any other circumstance likely to cause an accident, they must be notified and dealt with as soon as possible, for which the workplace must have a procedure for such notifications.
There is also a danger of accidents if the proper means are not used to reach the items stored on the highest shelves, which will be reached by stairs or stepped stools, never boxes or chairs. Stairs and stools must be stored in an appropriate place and kept in good condition.

Machines, knives and apparatus for cutting

Accidents and injuries occur frequently if the proper safety measures are not taken. The type of cutting devices, the incessant activity, and the working pressure present in restaurants during meal times increase the risk of accidents.
Meat grinders, mixers, ice cube machines, and dishwashers are some of the most common machines in a kitchen, and their misuse can cause cuts, trapping of limbs in moving parts, or electric shock. In order to prevent these risks, kitchen personnel must receive complete training before handling the appliances and following the manufacturer's instructions for their safe use. Other measures to avoid possible injuries are: make sure the machines are turned off and unplugged before cleaning; wear comfortable clothing and dispense with loose pendants and ornaments that may fall or get caught in machines (for the same reason employees with long hair must wear a net to collect their hair), and carry out regular reviews by authorized personnel. Also, food should never be fed into the machines with your hands.
Meat slicers, also used to cut fruits and vegetables, are very common in kitchens and are the potentially most dangerous appliances among kitchen equipment. When operating a slicer, the fenders must always be in place. Cleaning these equipment requires special care, especially when the cutting blades are in sight. After using the mower, the employee must put it in the stop position and unplug it.
Knives can cause serious injury if they are misused or stored in an inappropriate place. Kitchen personnel often use knives to cut and chop meat and vegetables before cooking. To avoid injury, some measures must be observed: do not use knives for activities other than their specific use (for example, as a can opener); keep them sharp, otherwise the pressure exerted is greater and the risk of the blade slipping increases; transport them by the handle and with the blade towards the ground, and keep them in place as soon as cleaning is finished.

Ovens and stoves

Skin burns are the greatest danger to which kitchen personnel operating ovens and stoves are exposed. Injuries for this reason range from light superficial scalds to third degree burns. As a preventive measure, it is recommended to use protective mitts to transport the casseroles, lift the lid of the casseroles or remove them from the oven. Grease should not be allowed to accumulate in areas near the oven to prevent slipping and fire. If the ovens used are gas, the pilot must be connected before
turn it on.
Fryers are another common appliance in kitchens, used for frying meats and vegetables. The greatest danger is burns to the skin from splashes of hot grease. To safely operate a fryer, the following measures are recommended: prevent the oil from overheating and catching fire; clean the floor around the fryer of grease; Do not overfill it with oil to prevent it from overflowing, and take special care when filtering or changing the oil in the fryer. You will always wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, aprons, and long-sleeved shirts.
The ovens Microwave ovens are widely used in kitchens to quickly heat or cook food. The most common hazards associated with improper maintenance are electric shock and exposure to microwave radiation leaks. It is a radiation that, depending on the intensity and duration of exposure, can cause injury to the most sensitive organs of the human body.
Pacemakers and other medical implants may also be affected by radiation. The microwave door and gaskets must be clean of grease and food residues, which can prevent the appliance from closing properly and causing radiation to leak outside. Instructions on how to operate in the proper safety conditions must be placed in the vicinity of the oven. All furnaces must undergo periodic checks to keep them in good condition and to detect possible radiation leaks. The necessary repairs and adjustments must be carried out by specialized technicians.

Dishes cooked to the customer's sight

Flamed or cooked dishes next to diners' table can cause burns to the waiter and customers if the proper methods are not used. This type of dishes should only be served by properly instructed personnel who know how to handle liquid or semi-solid fuel. To put out possible fires a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is required.
Refrigeration chambers and freezers
The big ones cooling and freezing chambers They are used in kitchens to store prepared foods and their ingredients. In addition to the low temperatures, the main danger lies in the kitchen staff being trapped in the event of accidental door closing. All cold rooms must have internal opening handles and alarm switches, the location of which will be known to all personnel who normally use them.
You should enter the cold rooms carefully, since the condensation inside it makes the floor very slippery. The floor must always be kept free of grease and food debris. Before closing the establishment, make sure that nobody has been locked inside the cold rooms.

Extreme temperatures

All kitchen staff in restaurants are exposed to heat stress, although it is the chef or cook who is subject to greater exposure, since their work is carried out very close to ovens and stoves. The extremely high temperatures reached by the air in the vicinity of the Heat sources, combined with the heavy uniforms that many chefs are required to wear, can cause certain health problems. Typically, kitchen staff suffer from, among others: high blood pressure, skin disorders, headaches, and fatigue. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are also common, and extreme cases of fainting and loss of consciousness have occurred.
To combat heat stress it is necessary to improve ventilation with hot air extractor hoods, organize work / rest periods and drink large amounts of water throughout the workday. Likewise, kitchen staff must be educated to recognize the symptoms of heat disorders.
They are workers generally exposed to extreme temperatures when moving from cold rooms to kitchens, sudden changes that can lead to respiratory problems.
Some employees remain for long periods of time inside the chambers, unpacking, tidying boxes, and cleaning the interior, for which they must be provided with suitable protective clothing.
To remove odors, fats and fumes from kitchens, appropriate ventilation systems are required. Grease suspended in the air can be deposited on the various kitchen equipment, making them slippery. Ventilation systems include exhaust fans, air ducts and hoods. Filters on these devices should be removed and cleaned regularly.
General cleaning
Dishwashing machines can cause burns to the skin when removing hot dishes or accessing them before the washing cycle has finished. They should never be overloaded, as they could clog and stop working, and gloves should be used when removing dishes from inside.
Various types of products are used to keep restaurant kitchens in the best conditions of cleanliness and hygiene. Those that contain ammonia, an irritant to the skin and eyes, are often used to clean the fat from ovens and stoves. When using products with ammonia, you must
ventilate the place using hoods and extractors.
The products used to unclog drains are caustic and cause burns to the skin and injuries to the eyes. To protect yourself from splashes, you should wear rubber gloves and face masks. The soaps and detergents present in floor cleaning products can cause dermatitis and throat irritation if soap powder is inhaled. Employees sensitive to this type of dust need to wear disposable masks.
Certain procedures must be followed when handling cleaning products to eliminate the risks to workers. Thus, they must be kept properly labeled and away from the places reserved for food; they should never be mixed, especially with bleach, the combination of which with other cleaning products can be dangerous. In many countries there are safety data sheets (FTS), with information on the content of cleaning products, their effects and instructions for proper handling.
Garbage compressors
Trash compressors are used to reduce large amounts of kitchen waste by volume. They must be designed to operate only with the lid closed, to avoid trapping hands or hair, and the water supply must be sufficient for their operation to be effective and safe. It is important to be very careful so that crystals, metals or plastics are not introduced into the garbage compressor, since the machine will jam and stop working.
They are usually used in restaurants to combat insects that attracts the presence of food. Although most pesticides used in kitchens and restaurants present little danger to humans, some people who are especially sensitive to them can experience skin irritations and other allergic reactions.
To avoid the incorrect use of pesticides, it is necessary that the managers and cleaning staff receive prior training and, in the event that the infestation of insects is severe, go to authorized technicians. All pesticide product containers must have printed instructions, which the user must read before proceeding with their application, especially those referring to the safety of their use in areas where food is available.
Food service
The staff assigned to the food service includes: waiters in charge of the dining room, waiters in charge of the snacks, those in charge of the cocktails, those in charge of the bar, those who accompany the client to the table, those in charge of the banquets and the assistants of waiter. The duties of these employees consist of serving food and drinks, escorting customers to their tables, and cleaning and maintaining dining rooms.
Slips and falls
Injuries can occur from slipping on a wet floor or falling from tripping over boxes, carts, or garbage cans located in kitchens and dining rooms. These injuries include sprains, trauma to the extremities, cervical and dorsal injuries, and cuts caused by falling on sharp objects. To avoid these risks, employees should always wear sturdy, low-heeled footwear with a rubber sole.
Food, grease, and water spilled on the floor should be cleaned up immediately, and loose cables should be securely attached to the floor. All dining room mats must be non-slip or have a rubber or similar backing. Carpet should be checked for worn or raised areas that could cause food service personnel to trip. The areas of the floor where the transition from carpet to tiles occurs must be properly marked to warn personnel of the change in surface.
Dining room setup is another important factor in accident prevention. Difficult bends, light shortages, and narrow kitchen doors can cause accidental shocks among waiters. Open, well-marked angles and sufficient lighting in the doors facilitate the passage and safety of food service personnel.
Food service personnel can suffer burns to the skin from splashes of hot liquids, such as coffee or soup, or from the melted wax of the candles that light and decorate the tables. To avoid this, waiters should never overfill glasses and plates when serving hot drinks at the table. When serving soup, they should be careful not to splash and be careful not to overfill the dishes. Those in charge of bringing coffee and teapots to the dining room must protect their hands with a napkin.
Musculoskeletal injuries
Repetitive stress injuries (LER) and other musculoskeletal problems are common in employees who routinely carry heavy trays, and have to bend and stretch to remove, clean and set tables, or move boxes of restaurant supplies. These risks can be reduced through good planning of the jobs and their schedules, so that the work of the personnel assigned to the food service has a rotating nature, in order to reduce repetitive tasks.
Training in ergonomics (and risk factors for repetitive stress injuries) is also very helpful in preventing this type of injury among food service personnel.
Many cervical and dorsal injuries are due to the use of an inadequate technique when lifting weights. Frequently, transporting trays overloaded with plates and glasses incorrectly can cause cervical injuries and increase the
risk of falling from the tray and injuring another person. Risks of injury can be reduced with proper training on how to properly lift and carry trays.
Thus, the balanced distribution of plates and glasses throughout the tray and the placement of the palm of one hand in the center of the base, while holding the front edge with the other, contributes to creating a safer environment in the dining room.
Hotel dining rooms can be very stressful places due to the pressure of providing efficient service within a tight schedule. Shifts in food service staff, uncertainty of earnings, as they are highly dependent on tips, and dealing with some difficult and irritable customers also play a role. To this are added other physical stressors, such as noise or poor ambient air quality.
Some of the most frequent stress symptoms are: headache, tachycardia, ulcer, irritability, insomnia and depression. In order to prevent and reduce stress, it is advisable to hold work meetings in which employees have the opportunity to share points of view on how to improve the work method, as well as attend workshops on management of stress, improvement of air quality and reduction of noise level. They are aspects of which this Encyclopedia more carefully in other sections.
Bars and lounges
The concept of bars and lounges ranges from small venues and cocktail bars to large nightclubs and venues with performances. Most of the risks involved in these establishments are addressed in more detail in other sections of this Encyclopedia.
Broken glass they are a frequent danger in bars due to the large number of glasses and bottles used in these establishments. Employees and customers are inadvertently ingesting broken glass fragments. There is also a danger of cutting your fingers. To reduce these risks, various measures must be observed, such as periodic inspection to detect cracked or broken fragments.
All glasses that are not in perfect condition will be removed immediately. Also, do not hold several glasses with one hand, inserting a finger inside each glass, since they can break when colliding with each other.
A glass should never be used to collect ice cubes. To put ice in the glasses, a metal pan should be used. In the event of a glass beaker breaking on top of the ice, it should be allowed to melt completely and carefully remove all pieces of glass. Broken glass should never be picked up with bare hands.
Pasive smokers. Employees of bars and lounges are exposed to secondhand smoke, especially in crowded places, which carries a risk, as lung cancer and other respiratory problems have been associated with passive smoking status. Therefore, it is essential to make the greatest efforts to improve the ventilation of the bars and to delimit non-smoking areas.
Slips and falls. The hustle and bustle of bars with a large influx of public contributes to slips and falls. Drinks spilled on the floor and dripping from some bottles make the area inside the bar especially dangerous for bartenders, making it necessary to mop the floor from time to time. Outside the bar, you have to mop the floor immediately after someone spills your drink. When the floor is covered with carpet, it should be regularly inspected for any irregularities or flaws where people may trip. All employees must wear non-slip footwear with rubber soles.
If there is a dance floor in the premises, the floor of the dance floor must be made of wood or other material that allows sliding on it, but its color must be differentiated from the other areas of the premises.
Weight lifting. Among the tasks of a bar employee is to lift heavy boxes and kegs of beer, for which he must use, whenever possible, a wheelbarrow. Improper lifting weights can lead to cervical, back, and knee injuries. Any weight lifting maneuver must be carried out with a technique that guarantees safety.
Bar waiters often carry heavy trays filled with drinks, causing cervical and back stress. Therefore, they should learn appropriate techniques for carrying trays. Staying in good physical shape is also important to prevent back injuries.
noises. Excessive noise in venues with live performances can cause hearing damage to employees. Exposure to 90 decibel (dB) levels, the legal limit established in the United States and other countries, causes hearing loss in certain people. All employees exposed to levels between 85 and 90 dB for 8 hours a day must undergo audiometry.
To avoid this type of injury, the exposure time should be limited to high noise levels, in addition to trying to reduce the volume of the sound. If this is not possible, there are personal protection measures, such as ear plugs.
Compressed Gases. They are present in bars that serve carbonated drinks. The containers of these drinks should be kept face up to avoid possible explosions.
Fire Safety
All restaurant employees must know how to use fire extinguishers and know the location of fire alarms.
An effective fire prevention program must contemplate the training of personnel so that they know how to detect any fire risk and how to proceed in the event that it does occur. Emergency phone numbers and instructions for calling should be prominently displayed, and all evacuation plans and routes must be known to all employees. They must be specially trained to put out any small fire that occurs in the kitchen.
The key to fire prevention in a restaurant is good maintenance and upkeep. The entire premises must be inspected so that no oil, grease or garbage remains accumulate. Once used, combustible materials, such as aerosols or oily rags, should be stored in conveniently covered containers or garbage cans. Kitchen vents, filters, and exhaust fans should be free of grease, which, on the other hand, will help keep equipment and facilities in good working order.
Restaurant emergency exits must be clearly marked and accesses to exits will be clear at all times, without boxes, garbage cans or other types of waste. Fire prevention systems and water sprays should not be missing in a prevention program.
The cashiers of a restaurant are in charge of the cash register: they handle the cash that enters the establishment, prepare the invoices of the clients and answer the phone. Restaurants are often the target of robberies and robberies in which ATMs can be injured and even killed. Management must train cashiers in money management and how to behave in the event of theft.
Other prevention measures consist of locating the box in an open and illuminated place, and installing alarms in that area that reinforce security in the event of theft. Once closed, the premises must be very safe and the exits protected by alarms and signaled to be used exclusively in case of emergency.
Cashier personnel, especially in fast food outlets and coffee shops, may suffer repetitive strain injuries due to the design of their stalls and the high workload. Preventive measures include that the workplace is well designed, with the cash register at the appropriate height, and that the seats are flexible so as to relieve pressure on the legs and lower back.
The different departments of a hotel are usually the following: reception, whose mission is to manage customer reservations and reception services; servicio of limpieza, responsible for the cleaning and supply of household goods for clients and common use spaces; maintenance, department in charge of the maintenance and cleaning on a large scale, of the facilities, painting, repairs and restorations; food and drink service; administration and accountingand other servicessuch as medical cabinets, beauty salons, hair salons, and gift shops.
Department risks
The reception encompasses the following job categories: managers, counter employees, telephone operators, bellboys, security personnel, concierges, drivers and valet parking. Among the health and safety hazards, the main ones are:
Data display screens (PVD). Counter employees, telephone operators, and other employees who serve the public often work with computer terminals.
Working with computers in certain conditions has been shown to cause certain repetitive stress injuries (RER), such as carpal tunnel syndrome (in the wrists) and shoulder, neck, and back injuries. Employees are exposed to special risks if the job requires the adoption of strange postures, or if the work with the PVD is uninterrupted and without breaks to rest.
PVDs can also cause eyestrain and other eye problems. Prevention measures include: adjustable computer workstations, training personnel to properly position their equipment, and maintaining correct postures, not forgetting breaks to rest and stretch.
Shift work. Many customer service employees work shifts that can vary based on daily occupancy level. There may be staff workers who must work day and night shifts, or split shifts with randomly distributed days off.
Some effects of shift work on physical and mental health are: sleep disturbances, stomach problems and stress. Added to this is the possibility for workers to turn to drugs or medicines to fall asleep and adjust to unusual working hours. Workers should be informed about the health risks of shift work.
Whenever possible, workers should enjoy the necessary free time between rotating shifts to allow sleep to normalize.
There are other aspects of the afternoon and night shifts that deserve special attention, such as safety factors, the availability of healthy meals during the working day and good ventilation (the air conditioning is usually switched off at night).
Poor indoor air quality. Employees can become passive smokers in places like the lobby, bar, dining room, or guest rooms. Without proper ventilation, passive smokers are at risk for lung cancer and heart disease.
Weight lifting. The risks caused by weight lifting are frequent in personnel whose job is to load, unload and transport luggage and supplies for congresses. Failure to train employees in the correct techniques for lifting weights can lead to injuries to the neck, back, knees, and ankles. It is recommended to use luggage trolleys that are in good condition and have a safety locking device and wheels that allow smooth sliding.
Risks in garages and parking lots. The personnel in charge of the hotels' garages include: valet parking, ATMs and maintenance personnel. These are employees who usually work part-time with a high rate of job turnover.
Other hazards include being run over by a vehicle, inhaling exhaust gases (which contain carbon monoxide in addition to other toxins), or being exposed to chemicals in automotive products for cleaning or in paintings. They are also exposed to asbestos from dust from vehicle brakes; They may fall from ladders and other maintenance equipment, or trip and slip due to spilled liquids, snow or damage to the pavement, without forgetting the risks of possible robberies.
Some measures to prevent car accidents are the clear signage of the traffic lanes and pedestrian crossings, indicators of the direction of traffic, stop signs at crossings and the marking of areas under construction.
Workers exposed to exhaust gases, toxic fumes from paints and other chemicals must be able to breathe fresh air and receive training on the risks and their health effects.
The kerosene stoves sometimes used by parking lot workers can give off toxic fumes and should not be allowed to be used. When it is necessary to use stoves, they must be electric, supervised and properly grounded. Oil and water spills and any debris on the floor should be cleaned up immediately. The snow has to be removed and prevent it from accumulating.
This group includes room cleaning staff, laundry staff and supervisors. Its functions are usually specified in the cleaning and maintenance of rooms, common use spaces, and recreational and meeting rooms. They also tend to take care of guest laundry. The main risks to your health and safety are as follows:
Repetitive stress injuries (LER). Cleaning staff work involves efforts such as repeatedly lifting weights, bending and bending to clean and scrub bathrooms, changing bedding, vacuuming rugs, cleaning furniture and wall dust, and pushing cleaning carts from one room to another. Laundry personnel are also at risk of repetitive strain injury from the stretching and rapid movements necessary to fold, sort, and stack clothing.
For the transport of equipment and belongings, employees use trolleys, which must be in perfect maintenance and have the wheels greased to allow a smooth slide and transport heavy loads without the risk of tripping. In addition, carts should be relatively light, easy to handle and allow the wearer to see clearly where he is going.
Both cleaning and laundry staff have to be trained in ergonomics and how correctly lift weights. They should also know the risk factors for RER and the methods to reduce its incidence.
Chemical products. Maids and room cleaners use chemicals for sinks, bathtubs, toilets, floors, and mirrors, some of which can cause dermatitis, respiratory problems, and other conditions.
Some of the products that contain ammonia, detergents, and solvents are irritating to the skin, eyes, nostrils, and throat. Certain solvent-based products can cause injury to the kidneys and reproductive organs.
Disinfectants often contain phenol compounds, which can cause irritation and possibly cancer. As preventive measures, the use of protective gloves and the use of less dangerous products are recommended. Adequate ventilation is also necessary, by opening windows or by using fans and exhaust fans. Chemicals should be stored in areas with proper maintenance, away from places for food and rest.
Workers must be trained in the risks of chemicals and their health effects in a way that they can all understand, which will sometimes require translation into their native language.
Trips and falls. Cleaning personnel need to move quickly during their work, a circumstance that favors slips on wet floors, falls from bathtubs or other surfaces during cleaning, and trips on cords, sheets and bedspreads or other obstacles. Furthermore, laundry staff run the risk of slipping on wet floors.
Staff training should be provided, paying particular attention to safety measures to be taken to prevent falls and to work methods that reduce the need to work in a hurry.
Cuts. The risk of cutting yourself with glass, used razor blades, and other debris can be reduced by using trash bags and placing special devices in the bathroom to dispose of these instruments. Employees should be instructed in the proper procedures for handling them.
Syringe needles. Hypodermic needles used and left by customers in the bins, between clothes or in the room, pose a risk to hotel employees who can contract infectious diseases from accidental needlesticks.
Cleaning and laundry staff are most likely to encounter used needles. Therefore, they need to be instructed to report these facts and to know how to get rid of needles. Boxes of approved needle containers must be made available to staff, and the hotel must have effective medical and counseling procedures to care for employees who have been punctured with used hypodermic needles.
Heat stress. The activities of hotel laundry managers include washing, ironing, folding, and delivering laundry. Heat from machines coupled with inadequate ventilation can cause heat stress. The most frequent symptoms are: headache, nausea, irritability, fatigue, fainting and a rapid pulse. If these symptoms are not treated in time, they can lead to seizures and more serious problems.
Heat stress can be prevented by installing air conditioning systems, isolating heat sources, ventilating heat areas with hot air extractors, taking frequent breaks in cool areas, drinking plenty of water, and wearing loose, comfortable clothing. If the temperature is moderately hot (less than 35 oC), a fan may be sufficient.
Maintenance personnel are responsible for large-scale cleaning and assembly, painting, repair and restoration of general facilities. The risks to which they are exposed are the following:
Chemical products. Maintenance service workers often use toxic cleaning products to polish floors and clean carpets, walls, furniture, bronze and marble objects. Certain products may
cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nostrils and throat, in addition to affecting the nervous system and causing kidney, lung, liver and reproductive tract injuries.
Paints and restoration products often contain solvents. Quick-drying paints are used to provide the most common rooms and spaces, although they contain solvents in high concentrations. Glues used for fixing carpets and floors and for other restoration tasks usually also contain toxic solvents. Solvents can irritate the skin, eyes, nostrils and throat; They can also damage the nervous system and cause damage to the kidneys, lungs, liver and reproductive organs, and certain solvents are known to cause cancer.
Pesticides and herbicides are used in kitchens, dining rooms, common areas, locker rooms, as well as outdoors, in gardens and accesses. Some of these products cause respiratory problems and irritate the skin, eyes, nostrils and throat, in addition to causing damage to the nervous system, kidneys, liver and other organs. Preventive measures include chemical training, adequate ventilation, and the use of personal protective equipment. All workers who need to use a respirator must receive advance instructions to select the correct apparatus and cartridge and to test, use and maintain the equipment in good condition.
Furthermore, employees must pass a medical examination to verify that they are physically fit to work with a respirator. Ideally, use less toxic chemicals as much as possible.
Asbestos Asbestos is present in many hotels, as it has been used for years as an insulator and fire retardant, making it found in pipes, ceilings and floor coverings. It is a highly toxic material that can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma (a type of cancer).
Its dangerousness increases as time passes or it deteriorates, turning into a dangerous dust. Hotels that have asbestos in their facilities must be periodically reviewed to check their status. Precautions must be taken to protect employees and guests when there is asbestos dust (due to aging or deterioration of the material, or during work to eliminate it). Hotel employees and guests should stay away and the area should be properly marked, hiring specialized personnel to reduce risks. Once the work is completed, the area has to be inspected by professional technicians. Other alternative materials should be used in new construction and remodeling.
Trips and falls. Maintenance personnel can fall when climbing stairs and forklifts to reach high places such as ceilings, glass chandeliers, sconces, walls, and balconies. These workers must receive training
Food and drink service
This group of workers is made up of kitchen staff, dishwashers, restaurant service managers, room service staff, escort customers to their tables, and bar managers.
Repetitive stress injuries (LER). Room service and restaurant service staff may experience LER when serving meals, as they often travel long distances with overly heavy trays. Room service carts help reduce these risks, although they must be easy to operate and in good repair. If carts have dishes to heat dishes, employees must receive proper training in handling.
Trips and falls. The floors in kitchens and areas where service personnel pass must be kept clean and dry to prevent possible falls. Spilled liquids should be cleaned up immediately. See also the "Restaurants" section in this chapter.
Other services
Pools and gyms. Many hotels have swimming pools and gyms for guests, plus showers, saunas, bubble baths, weight rooms, and locker rooms. Products used to clean and disinfect showers and locker rooms can irritate the skin and respiratory tract. On the other hand, those in charge of pool maintenance often use chlorine in solid or gaseous form, a substance that can cause burns and serious respiratory problems, and can even explode if it is not managed correctly. All employees working with this type of chemical products must receive the corresponding training.
Pool and gym maintenance workers are exposed to injuries from falls and slips. It is important that the floors are non-slip and in a good state of maintenance and with appropriate drains. Puddles of water should dry instantly.
Gift shops. Many hotels have gift shops and other products for their clients. Employees can experience falls, sprains and cuts when unpacking and placing merchandise. To prevent these risks, managers must receive training in the proper techniques to lift weights and have carts for transporting goods. The hallways must be kept clear to avoid possible accidents.
Beauty salons and hairdressers. Hairdressing and cosmetic personnel are exposed to injuries, such as skin irritations from hair products, burns from hot towels and curling irons, and cuts or punctures with scissors and razor blades.
Repeated exposure to certain chemicals, such as those used in the manufacture of hair dyes, can be dangerous to the respiratory tract and lead to cancer. There is also a danger of suffering from LER due to the continual submission of the hands to strange postures. Employees must know the dangers of chemicals and ergonomic aspects, and learn working methods that reduce these risks, using gloves and aprons when working with dyes, bleaches, liquid for perms and
other chemicals. Premises must have adequate ventilation that provides clean air and eliminates fumes, especially in areas where employees mix the substances. Scissors and razors should be kept in good condition to facilitate cutting, as explained in other chapters of this Encyclopedia.
For all professions
sexual harassment. Housekeeping staff and other hotel employees are exposed to sexual harassment by guests and others, and must be given precise instructions to deal with such situations. Hotel management needs to establish a clear policy on how to report and respond to such incidents.
Fire and other emergencies. Emergency situations and disasters can lead to deaths and injuries, both among customers and among employees. Hotels must have emergency plans with evacuation routes, emergency procedures and emergency communication systems, in addition to rapid evacuation methods for clients. Certain directors, in addition to the switchboard operators, must have precise instructions on how to coordinate the emergency communication system with staff and customers.
Staff training and meetings between employees and management are essential for effective prevention and response programs in emergency situations. Translation for workers who need it must be included in training sessions and meetings. It is necessary that the training be done periodically, due to the great labor rotation existing among the hospitality workers. Emergency simulation exercises should also be regularly scheduled,
which will include evacuation route tours and practices of the role assigned to each employee and other procedures for emergencies.
A fire prevention program with regular inspections is also necessary. Management and employees must ensure that exits are not blocked, that flammable materials are stored properly, that kitchen range hoods are cleaned regularly, and that electrical appliances are in good repair (cordless). peeled). Fireproof materials should be used in interior decoration, and protective screens should be placed in front of the fireplaces. Also the ashtrays must be emptied correctly and the candles will only be used in semi-closed containers.
All hotel and ancillary facilities, such as beauty salons, restaurants, and gift shops, must comply with fire codes. Rooms and common spaces must be equipped with smoke detectors and water sprays. Fire extinguishers must be scattered throughout the hotel. The exits must be well marked and illuminated. The hotel will have auxiliary generators that provide emergency lighting and other services.
Evacuation instructions must appear in all rooms. Many hotels provide customers with a video in their respective rooms with different security measures. Hearing impaired people should be housed in rooms with brightly colored visual alarms to alert them to emergencies, and those who are visually impaired will be offered braille information with the emergency measures.
Hotels must have a central alarm system capable of locating exactly any suspicion of fire and automatically reporting to emergency services, in addition to issuing through the available system to contact the
public the corresponding notices to customers and employees.
Hotels and restaurants constitute a large, highly diverse and intensively working service sector, and it is mostly made up of small companies.
Although there are a number of large corporations, some of which pursue uniform methods and operating standards, their hotels and restaurants are often privately owned, often franchised rather than owned. Hotel food and beverage establishments are often left to franchise operators.
Among entrepreneurs in this sector, there is a high level of failure, which often leads to insolvency before going bankrupt and closing their business. This is the reason for the savings policies regarding staffing, purchasing and maintaining equipment, or acquiring the necessary supplies. It also leads to an abandonment of employee training programs and a refusal to allocate scarce resources to measures to promote and protect the health and safety of workers.
Most of these jobs do not require any specialization, and their income is minimal or very low (in some cases, they are supplemented by tips, which depend on the generosity of the clients). Consequently, they are positions that attract only workers with minimal education and experience; Furthermore, since a special command of the language is not necessary, many of these jobs are covered by immigrants and workers belonging to ethnic minorities. Promotion and promotion opportunities are non-existent in many cases.
Shifts are necessary to maintain hotel activity twenty-four hours a day; In restaurants, peak meal times are typically covered by part-time workers. The clientele is usually seasonal and many establishments reduce their activity or even close during the low season, which results in little or no job stability. The result of all these factors is a high labor turnover of workers in this sector.
Stress at work
Many hospitality workers are exposed to stress at their jobs due to periods of intense activity and the need to please customers, on whose tips their earnings often depend. Often they have to follow orders that are unreasonable or impossible to fulfill and are at the mercy of the abusive attitude of their bosses and the clients themselves. Numerous jobs, especially those for kitchens and laundries, are performed in stressful environments with high temperatures and humidity, insufficient ventilation, poor lighting, and high noise levels (Ulfvarson, Janbell, and Rosen 1976).
Hotels and restaurants are at the top of the list of work centers with the highest incidence of violent crime among workers. According to the data collected in a study, more than 50% of this type of violent incident involving hotel and restaurant workers resulted in deaths (Hales et al. 1988). Among the risk factors for workplace homicide to which workers in this sector are exposed are: exchanging money with the public, working alone or in small groups, working late at night or early in the evening. tomorrow, and safekeeping of valuables and property (Warshaw and Messite 1996).
Types of injuries and illnesses
According to a study by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 76% of total workplace injuries and accidents among hotel employees were from cleaning and food and beverage service personnel (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 1967). On the other hand, a study carried out in Denmark revealed that the majority of these were musculoskeletal and skin problems (Direktoratet for Arbejdstilsynet 1993). Many of the skin problems stem from exposure to soaps, hot water, detergent chemicals and other cleaning and waxing materials, and in some cases, pesticides. Musculoskeletal injuries, except for those listed below, are most often caused by slipping, falling, lifting, and handling heavy or bulky objects.
Sprains, strains, and repetitive strain injuries
It is common to find back injuries, strains and sprains in concierges, porters and bellboys, since they have to lift and transport luggage (an aggravated problem when arriving or leaving large tourist groups); kitchen staff and other employees who receive and store supplies, and cleaning staff who lift mattresses, make beds, and handle laundry. A typical injury to waiters serving ice cream and other frozen desserts is that of the carpal tunnel, caused by repetitive stress when handling ice cream scoops or scoops.
Cuts and wounds
Restaurant employees and dishwashers suffer frequent cuts and injuries from handling clay pots and broken glasses, and from using and cleaning knives and clippers. Room maids are also at a similar risk by emptying bins where there may be broken glass and used razor blades. These are avoidable risks if trash bags are used, which can be removed without the need to contact the contents.
Burns and scalds
Burns and scalds are common among kitchen managers, dishwashers, and general kitchen and laundry staff. Hot oil burns occur from accidental splashing while cooking food, or by placing food in deep fryers with boiling oil; when adding, filtering or removing the oil, or when cleaning the grills and fryers still hot. Accidents also occur due to workers slipping on wet or greasy floors, resulting in a fall on a grill or call. A typical restaurant injury is a skin burn from serving flamed dishes or drinks (Achauer, Bartlett, and Allyn 1982).
Industrial chemicals
As in many small industries, hotels and restaurants also handle, store, and dispose of industrial chemicals incorrectly. Thus, it is common for household cleaning products, disinfectants, pesticides, and other "poisons" to be stored unlabelled, on top of open food containers, or in food preparation areas. Also, when used in sprays, inhalation by people is often too high.
The fast food sector
It is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and increasingly frequent in other countries, in addition to being one of the largest sources of jobs for young people. Burns and wounds are the most frequent dangers in these establishments. It should be underlined that the distribution of pizzas and home delivery is very dangerous due to trade policies that encourage reckless driving with bicycles and cars (Landrigan et al. 1992).
Prevention measures
The processes, Standardized workplaces and appropriate training and supervision are key factors in preventing work-related illness and injury in the hospitality sector. Due to the low level of education and language difficulties, it is essential that the training material and exercises are easy to understand (multiple languages ​​may be required). On the other hand, the high turnover of these workers forces them to repeat the training sessions with some regularity. Finally, the exercises must be complemented by frequent inspections to verify compliance with the essential measures for proper conservation and elimination of accident risks.
Emergency exercises
In addition to regular inspections to check the status of firefighting equipment (smoke detectors, spray systems, fire extinguishers, hoses and emergency lighting) and to check that emergency exits are well marked and clear, regular exercises should be carried out. training with workers to prevent them or customers from being trapped in the event of a fire or explosion. At least on some occasions, these exercises must be carried out in collaboration with the fire, police and rescue teams.
Proper design and prompt implementation of prevention measures are essential to reduce the frequency of occupational injuries and illnesses among hospitality workers. The effectiveness of training and indoctrination programs can be substantially reduced by language barriers and the low level of education of many of these workers, in addition to the need to repeat them regularly due to the high job turnover in this group. . It should not be forgotten that the safety and health of workers in this sector are essential factors for the satisfaction and enjoyment of customers, on whom the success (and even survival) of the business ultimately depends.
Achauer, BM, RH Bartlett, PA Allyn. 1982. Face flambe. JAMA. 247: 2271.
Direktoratet for Arbejdstilsynet. 1993 Hotel og restauration Copenhagen: Direktoratet for Arbejdstilsynet.
Hales, T, PJ Seligman, SC Newman, CL Timbrook. 1988 Occupational injuries due to violence. J Occup Med. 30: 483-487.
Landrigan, PJ, SH Pollack, R Belleville, JG Godbold. 1992. Child labor in the United States: Historical background and current crisis. Mount Sinai Journal of
Medicine 59: 498-503.
Ulfvarson, U, H Janbell, G Rosen. 1976. Fyskaliska och kemiska faktorer i hotell — och restauranganställdas arbetsmiljö. Arbete och hälsa — Vetenskaplig skriftserie. Stockholm: Arbetarskyddsverket.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1967. Work Injuries and Accident Causes in Hotels, BLS Report No. 329. Washington, DC: US ​​Department of Labor.
Warshaw, LJ, J Messite. nineteen ninety six. Workplace violence: Preventive and interventive strategies. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 38: 993-1006.
Other recommended reading
Kohr, RL. 1991. Accident Prevention for Hotels, Motels and Restaurants. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
This article was published in the Hotels and Restaurants Magazine and the authors of each of the main topics are: General Profile. Pam tau lee.  Restaurants Neil dalhouse . Hotels and Boutiques Pam tau lee.  Health effects and pathological patterns Leon J. Warshaw . .  
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