Giving employees the tools and resources they need to protect themselves in the workplace is a must in the hotel industry: it helps in raising safety standards, makes the work environment more egalitarian and inclusive, and protects valued members of staff. Research has shown that hotel workers are up to twice as likely to suffer a sexual assault compared to those who work in other industries. This can lead to high levels of hotel staff turnover and increase stress levels for those working in the hospitality industry—particularly for vulnerable groups such as women and/or immigrants that make up a large percentage of the workforce.
A comprehensive panic button system is one of the best ways of improving personal safety for those working in the American hotel industry. Effective and affordable, panic buttons can be used in hotels of all sizes to protect employees, boost workplace safety and raise standards across the industry.
But what exactly does a panic button do, and how can it be effectively implemented in hotels? Here, we explore those questions and provide more insight into the function and purpose of panic buttons.
What Does a Panic Button Do?
There are various types of panic buttons on the market, alongside a few other tools that are associated with personal protection in the workplace. While some devices are designed to simply emit a loud sound or be used as a weapon, such as screamers and pepper sprays, others offer more high-tech solutions, using Bluetooth or WiFi to call hotel security and provide responders with the exact location of the person requiring assistance. This allows security to act quickly when a staff member is in danger and provide the help and support employees need to keep them safe when they’re at work.
A panic button is not a weapon, but rather a defensive device designed to both call for help and act as a deterrent to would-be transgressors. Unlike other personal safety products such as pepper sprays and tasers, it cannot be taken from the user and turned into a weapon against them.
This makes panic buttons a significantly safer option for employees, guests, and the general public, with a significantly lower chance of the device being misused in a dangerous way. This also means that as well as helping to improve staff safety a panic button system can benefit hotel guests. If a member of staff comes across a guest in distress or in need of medical attention, they can use their panic button to get help to their precise location, saving precious seconds when needed most.
Where Do You Put a Panic Button?
Hotel panic buttons can be installed in public areas, guest rooms, or used as wearable personal safety devices by hospitality workers. A wearable panic button gives hotel housekeepers and other employees instant access to help when they need it most. These types of employee safety devices are very discreet and easy to wear. They’re designed to be comfortable and to be readily accessible when help is required.
In reality, most panic button systems merge both wearable and location systems in some way, often providing employees with a remote button that can be carried which links to a wider network of receivers that can be used to call for help.
Panic Buttons for Hotel Employees
Wearable safety devices are the ideal panic button solution, designed to both prioritize hotel employee safety and ensure protection of guests. Because housekeepers and other workers spend their days moving from one guest room to another, safety alarms and devices installed in fixed locations (such as under desks or on walls) are less suitable for hotels. Additionally, workers may often find themselves in isolated parts of the hotel.
Wearable, wireless hotel panic button systems not only allow hotel workers to call for help whenever necessary, but they also provide hotel security with precise locations in real-time as soon as the call is made. The most effective devices do not continuously track employees or identify them by name when help is required. This enables staff to maintain anonymity and autonomy, as well as ensuring they cannot be discriminated against during critical incidents.
A number of cities and states now require panic buttons to be supplied to employees by law. Chicago already has an ordinance in place, as do Seattle, New Jersey, Miami Beach and parts of New York, and California. It is likely that this type of legislation will continue to grow as the industry wakes up to the scale of the threat faced by hotel workers.
According to these new laws, employee safety devices are required to be portable or wearable. Additionally, The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) recommends the use of wearable panic buttons as part of its 5-Star Promise, the organization’s commitment to reducing sexual harassment, boosting employee safety and creating a culture that values workers and worker safety.
How Much Does a Panic Button Cost?
The cost of a panic button system will vary depending on the size of the hotel, the number of employees and the spec of the system used. However, as panic buttons help to dramatically improve worker safety, reduce sexual harassment, and minimize staff turnover, they offer excellent value for money. What’s more, with a number of cities and states now imposing fines on hoteliers who don’t provide the necessary staff safety devices, panic button systems make even more financial sense. Not to mention the mitigation of lawsuits after a harassment case or an injury occurs.
Wearable panic buttons are an effective way of protecting hotel employees from assault and sexual harassment and improving workplace safety. Learn more about keeping your employees safe by taking a look at our hotel employee safety tips. You can also find out more about panic button systems, and about the specialist safety solutions we offer, by getting in touch with a member of our team today.