Hotel employee COVID safety protocols

September 21, 2022

Hotel Safety Management—Reducing Lost Time

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the leisure and hospitality sector hard, with the hotel industry suffering a collective loss of $111.8 billion in room revenue in 2020 and 2021, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. During that period it also experienced substantial employee attrition, with many former hospitality workers having no plans to return to jobs in that sector. Unfortunately, worker illness and injury threaten to further impede the recovery of the hotel industry, which is already hampered by a reduced workforce.

How serious is the problem? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the hotel and motel industry experienced 11,320 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that involved days away from work in 2020. Among incidents in the hospitality sector, slips, trips and falls and strains and sprains are the most common causes of injury, accounting for more than $2.81 billion in costs. Whether you have staff slipping on a wet hotel kitchen floor that’s being cleaned or straining their back from lifting a mattress, these incidents can cost your business in employee time lost, higher insurance premiums, bad PR, and more.

Understanding Lost Time

Lost Time Injury rate is an important metric for business owners and managers taking a data-driven look at the effectiveness of their safety program. A Lost Time Injury is an incident that results in disability or an employee having to miss work due to an injury. (Note that only an injury that is work-related should count as a Lost Time Injury—if an employee is injured in an accident off the clock, even if it affects their ability to work, it is not counted in this statistic.) If an employee returns to work but is not able to perform all their job functions as outlined in their job description, they can also be counted as a Restricted Work Injury.    

The Lost Time Injury rate is calculated as the number of lost time injuries in a given period compared to the total number of hours worked in this period. This metric isn’t about measuring the severity of the injuries or how much time is lost, just the frequency of such incidents. If this figure is high compared to benchmarks in your industry, it’s a clear sign that your safety program is missing something significant.

When workplace injuries are occurring too often in your hotel, you’ll need to dig into the facts to figure out an effective prevention strategy. One source of useful information is your workers’ compensation policy’s Loss Run report. These reports will typically include details from your claim history that can illuminate ongoing problems at your site, such as descriptions of the injuries as well as the most common and frequent injuries reported and where they occurred. If injuries happen repeatedly in the same locations, in certain job roles, or within specific departments, that points to where better training and procedures can mitigate the issue.

The Value of a Strong Safety Program

The problem with Lost Time Injury statistics or Loss Run reports is that they’re backwards-looking—they tell the story of what’s already happened, and you can’t change the past if you don’t like what you see. However, you can use them to adjust your approach going forward. A strong safety program should recognize the most common risks in your workplace, remove preventable causes of accidents, ensure that workers are well-versed in safety procedures, and give workers a way to report health and safety concerns before they have a problem. Most importantly, it must keep employees engaged so they follow through on best practices.

If you’re seeing a troubling rise in worker’s comp claims, a hike in your insurance premiums, or employees who quit because they don’t feel safe on the job, it’s not too late to turn things around. Bridge Training Consultants can help you revitalize your safety protocols with our safety incentive programs. We motivate your team and keep them engaged by rewarding them for doing the right things to keep themselves and their coworkers safe. We’ve designed and managed programs for over 200 companies and organizations in a variety of industries over the last 17 years, improving safety and reducing time lost to accidents. To find out more about how Bridge Training Consultant can help your hotel save money with a safety incentive program that fits your industry, contact us here.

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