The Hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. Along with this growth comes a number of safety and health risks, as well as increased regulatory pressures. The WHS processes for the hospitality industry are an important part of staying compliant with these regulations, while providing a safe work environment for employees. This blog post discusses how to make your workplace safer, while complying with WHS standards using best practices within the hospitality industry.
For all its glamour when you scratch beneath, the hospitality industry is a space rife with health and safety risks. Slips, trips and falls. Burns and cuts. Including customer and/or client roughness contributes to making it a high-risk environment. According to Safework Australia - Australia’s national occupational health and safety policy maker- the hospitality industry accounted for 6% of all work-related injuries in Australia.
What does this mean for you, as a business owner? It means that implementing WHS processes is critical to your success.
Preventing workplace injuries is not only beneficial for your staff, but also for the success of your business - it will save you money on insurance premiums, keep your staff happy and enable you to focus on what really matters. It is your responsibility as a business owner in accordance with the Work Health and Safety laws to "take care of the health, safety and welfare of your workers, including yourself and other staff, contractors and volunteers, and others (clients, customers, visitors) at your workplace.”
And this article will provide some key steps to help you do just that.
Hotels, restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses all have hazards that can lead to injuries if not managed.
Things to keep in mind:
These hazards are not unique to the hospitality industry, but in this space they can present themselves as much more dangerous. The tasks involved with this work are not always well rehearsed, meaning the consequences of an accident can be much more serious. The hospitality industry also has a high turnover of staff, which means the likelihood they will have received training in WHS processes is minimal. These along with a very demanding, unpredictable and often hurried environment combine to make it a high-risk job.
First off: Injuries, sickness, or death not only have a detrimental effect on the physical health of workers, but also on their mental health. Poor mental and physical health can lead to short-term absences, long-term absence or even retirement from the industry altogether. This means that their lives are not only impacted negatively, but also that the lives of their dependents are.
Secondly: Incidents can lead to huge financial losses - and that's without taking into account the incalculable social cost. In the end, when accidents occur, workers' compensation losses, liability insurance premiums, and lost productivity are often the result. Typically, this runs into the millions of dollars.
Lastly: Society also pays a heavy price. When an injury leads to a long-term disability, society has to bear two sets of burden - the worker and their dependents. The ills that are inflicted upon the society can be both physical (injuries, loss of limbs) or mental (inability to work, depression). Additionally if the injured was an experienced and highly-skilled worker, the potential long-term adverse economic impact can be significant.
As a result of your responsibility as an employer, you need to undertake WHS processes to protect your staff and the public.
There are a number of WHS processes that need to be implemented in any hospitality business. But the first step is understanding what "WHS processes" entails.
WHS processes refer to the practices and tasks that need to be performed in order to ensure the safety of all employees and customers. The following WHS processes any business in the hospitality sector should implement. They are grouped under the following key headings:
Business owners and managers must prove their commitment to ensuring their facilities are safe and staff are well equipped and capable of handling WHS risks. They should have a safety policy that is compliant with WHS legislation and they need to be committed to implementing it in their workplace. This includes providing training, implementing workplace policies for staff to adhere to ensuring the facilities are well maintained, provisions of appropriate resources for handling WHS risks as well as exemplary behaviour.
Employees should be included in the process, and their opinion is important. Employees are more likely to buy into a change if they feel like they have some control over it. To get employees involved in the process, you can offer them workshops on the basics of WHS, provide a safe space for them to voice their concerns with the change, or even offer some incentives.
Involving employees can be as basic as giving them a voice in the process, or as elaborate as involving them every step of the way.
Examples of employee involvement in WHS process:
The primary aim of your entire WHS process is to keep workers and visitors safe. This can only be achieved when you identify potential workplace hazards, and assess the risk they present. To do this, it's important to know what each hazard is, and how it can affect safety.
A basic hazard identification process would involve:
Next step is to assess identified hazards and prioritize them.
To do this, you can use the Risk Matrix. Using the Risk Matrix, hazards are evaluated for their likelihood of occurrence, severity of consequences, and their control options. Once identified, they should be ranked according to the severity of their potential consequences and assigned a risk rating.
A job safety analysis (JSA) should also be conducted to determine the job tasks that pose significant health and safety risks. The goal of JSA and hazard analysis is to help prioritize job tasks and hazards that present the greatest risk to workers.
Following the identification and analysis of hazards, there are a number of controls that can be adopted to mitigate the risks. Using the hierarchy of hazard controls:
Hospitality processes should be in alignment with the hierarchy of hazard controls. Consideration must be given to the most hazardous processes in the workplace and then a hierarchy of controls applied accordingly.
The elimination of hazards is the best control but not always possible. For example:
Elimination of hazards in food preparation could be achieved by using a common hazard prevention and control measures include:
A process that is known to be drought with hazard can be replaced with another with lower risk to health and safety. For example, the use of automatic or remotely controlled mechanical devices to substitute for human operation - the use of an automated rotating knife system to eliminate the need for a chef to manually slice meat
This involves the use of barriers/guards to partition or separate the worker from the hazardous process. The use of engineering controls is based on the risks involved with a process, for example:
This control includes measures that are primarily aimed at reducing workers' exposure to hazardous processes. Examples include:
There are a number of PPE available including: gloves, goggles, masks, and ear plugs. The use of PPE is determined by the severity of exposure to a hazard (low or high) and whether there is a risk of contacting the hazard. For example:
Education is one of the most important parts of WHS processes in hospitality. This includes both training and awareness campaigns. Training can be a huge area of opportunity for many hospitality businesses, and it has the potential to reduce risks in these businesses well beyond occupational health and safety risks. Education programs can range from a few hours to many days, with the most common being in-person, face-to-face training sessions.
A hospitality business should ensure that all its employees are trained and educated on the organization's WHS policies. Educational training in the hospitality industry will cover a wide range of topics including, but not limited to: hazard identification, safe work practices, and appropriate use of protective equipment. The goal or educational training is to ensure that all employees can identify hazards in their work environment and know how to control these hazards. Additionally programs should be tailored to specific roles. For example, first aid officers should be trained to provide first aid and use of emergency equipment. All employees should be provided with the training and education they need to do their jobs safely, effectively and confidently.
Awareness campaigns are another very important part of the WHS process in hospitality. One way to raise awareness is through signage. Signage can be used in many different ways, but the most common usage of such signs involves displaying the hazards of the workplace and how to control them. By providing employees with information on the specifics of WHS in their work environment, they are able to more effectively manage hazards and their risks.
The most effective training methods are interactive and include demonstrations, videos or other hands-on activities such as: Safety audits and simulated emergencies. Additionally, for employees who are not fluent in the company's language, awareness campaigns should be provided in their native tongue to ensure their safety. Finally, it is a must for newly employed workers to undergo an induction training session before they start their duties.
The WHS processes are monitored periodically to ensure it remains relevant, addresses emerging workplace hazards, and protects the health of workers. Also, the implementation of the WHS process is monitored to ensure it is effective in meeting the organization's objectives.
The WHS process should be reviewed periodically to identify and correct any deficiencies, omissions, or ambiguities. The time period for review may depend on the complexity of the process and should be documented in a management instruction (e.g., annually). The process should be reviewed by a competent person with knowledge of the WHS system and its requirements.
The review process should involve, where relevant:
The hospitality industry is a fast growing sector of the economy with an increasing number of people entering into the workforce. With such rapid growth, it is not surprising that accidents occur. And completing WHS processes for your hospitality Business is a frustrating process, requiring lots of time and energy.
Kiri Align software is an integrated WHS management system that allows businesses to easily and quickly complete their WHS requirements, saving you time and preventing you from incurring costly penalties, fines, or unwanted attention from the regulators. It gives hospitality businesses real-time access to their compliance information, so they can easily monitor current as well as upcoming tasks. It also provides a place for users to store any and all of their company’s WHS documents, such as training records, incident reports, etc.
A demo awaits - click here to try Kiri Align for FREE!