Because they often work alone, room attendants are vulnerable to assault. In the past five years, several housekeeping attendants have become the victims of battery, sexual assault, and, in at least one case, murder while working alone on guestroom floors. Here are four steps that every hotel can enact to increase safety.
- Issue whistles or panic alarms. Consider issuing loud whistles or high-pitch portable, panic alarms to room attendants. Require these whistles or alarms be attached via lanyard to the uniform of each room attendant.
- Buddy up. Where feasible, assign two room attendants to each floor or section of rooms. The two employees can check on each other throughout the day, take breaks together, and help ensure the safety of each other.
- Close and lock the door. Require room attendants to close and lock the door while they are inside cleaning the guestroom. This will prevent strangers from accessing the guestroom or claiming to the attendant that this is “their guestroom.”
- Block the door. Train all room attendants to place their housekeeping cart in front of the door to the room they are cleaning. This provides a barrier of protection and makes it harder for trespassers to access the room.
Dr. William D. Frye is coauthor of AH&LEI’s textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.
Photo credit: Maid with housekeeping cart via Bigstock