Monthly Archives: March 2010

Hospitality Industry Cybercrime: The 10 Riskiest Cities For Cybercrime Include Major Hotel Destinations Such As #1 Seattle, San Francisco And Boston

The 10 Riskiest Cities for Cyber-Crime identified in the The Norton Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities report make up a laundry list of the most famous places in the country.

The top 10 listed are:

  1. Seattle
  2. Boston
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. San Francisco
  5. Raleigh, N.C.
  6. Atlanta
  7. Minneapolis
  8. Denver
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. Portland, Ore.

(From a article)   Other notable cities in the remaining 40 include Honolulu (11), Las Vegas (13), San Diego (14), New York (24), Los Angeles (30), Houston (32), Phoenix (34) and Chicago (35). Rankings were determined from Symantec data on cyber-crime, third-party data on online behavior and demographic data from Sperling.

These cities have been ranked based on the numbers of malicious attacks received; potential malware infections; spam zombies; bot-infected machines; and places that offer free Wi-Fi, per capita. They were also ranked based on the prevalence of Internet use; computer use, based on consumer expenditures for hardware and software; and risky online activity, like purchasing via the Internet, e-mail and accessing financial information.

Seattle ranked in the top 10 of all categories, which is how it wound up as No.1 riskiest city in the survey.

“When you look at the data, they are way ahead on all these measures, so you’ve got a concentration of heavy usage of technology engaging in the kinds of activities that we know increase your risk of being a victim of cyber-crime,” said Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate.

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Hospitality Industry Health Issues: Swine Flu Risks Can Impact Hotels And Restaurants If Steps Are Not Taken To Educate Staff And Keep Establishments Clean

Swine flu is a type of influenza caused by a virus which can cause serious health complications or even death in a small proportion of the population. Officially called Influenza A H1N1, the symptoms are similar to ordinary flu (e.g. fever, headache, sneezing) but can be more severe.

The spread of the flu is now recognised as a pandemic (i.e. global epidemic) and its effects are likely to intensify during the autumn and winter. Businesses could be adversely affected and forward planning is important. The key challenge will be to maintain the normal operation of their business whilst protecting staff from unnecessary exposure – especially those who are most vulnerable.



(From a article)   Employers have a duty to take steps that are reasonably necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their employees, including those who are particularly at risk for whatever reason. Information on the symptoms of swine flu and those most at risk is available from the NHS at: pages/symptoms.aspx.

Simple precautions can make a big difference in preventing the spread of the virus:

  • Educate your staff without causing panic. For example, display posters outlining the most common symptoms of swine flu and the Government’s key precautionary steps.
  • Provide handwash and paper tissues in all communal areas and encourage their regular use.
  • Regularly clean surfaces frequently touched by people (including hotdesk areas, kitchens, toilets and showers).
  • Consider using telephone or videoconferencing where possible, instead of face-to-face meetings.
  • Keep work-related travel to a minimum, especially abroad.
  • Deploy those most at risk to areas where personal contact is minimal (e.g. allow them to work from home).
  • Send home anyone with flu-like symptoms (including the boss!) until they have been diagnosed. If confirmed as having swine flu, ensure they do not return to work until their symptoms have completely gone.

Employees also have a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of people they work with. They must co-operate with their employer to enable it to comply with its duties under health and safety legislation. Accordingly, employees who refuse to co-operate or who recklessly risk their own health or that of colleagues or customers can be disciplined.

At present there is no obligation to report outbreaks of swine flu under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), but this may change.

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Hospitality Industry Safety: OSHA Outreach Training Program May Be Mandated Nationally As It Stresses “Safety And Health Hazard Recognition And Prevention”

The OSHA Outreach Training Program is our primary way to train workers in the basics of occupational safety and health. Through the program, individuals who complete a one-week OSHA trainer course are authorized to teach 10-hour and 30-hour courses in construction or general industry safety and health hazard recognition and prevention. Authorized trainers can receive OSHA course completion cards for their students. Over the past three years, over 1.6 million students have received training through this program.

*OSHA subpart references are provided for informational purposes;

training should emphasize hazard awareness

Mandatory – 6 hours  
One Hour – Introduction to OSHA, including:

  • OSH Act, General Duty Clause, Employer and Employee Rights and Responsibilities, Whistleblower Rights, Recordkeeping basics
  • Inspections, Citations, and Penalties
  • Value of Safety and Health
  • OSHA Website and available resources
  • OSHA 800 number
One Hour 
Walking and Working Surfaces, Subpart D – including fall protection
One Hour 
Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, Fire Prevention Plans, and Fire Protection, Subpart E & L
One Hour 
Electrical, Subpart S
One Hour 
Personal Protective Equipment, Subpart I
One Hour 
Hazard Communication, Subpart Z

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Hotel Safety Issues: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning That Killed Hotel Guest In 2008 Caused By Blocked Basement Exhaust Vent During Remodeling

The lawsuit, filed in July 2008 in Philadelphia, alleged that a plastic canopy was placed over a basement exhaust vent and trapped the carbon monoxide emitted from hot water heaters. The poisonous air was pulled into the rooms by air handling units. In addition to Philip Prechtel’s death, several people, including Katherine Prechtel, were hospitalized.

(From a article)   The family of a South Carolina man who died after inhaling carbon monoxide at an Upper Macungie Township hotel in January 2008 has settled a federal lawsuit against the hotel and several contractors.

Philip D. Prechtel, 63, died after a makeshift canopy placed on the side of the Best Western Allentown Inn & Suites during a remodeling project captured carbon monoxide gas that was drawn into several rooms, including the one Prechtel slept in with his wife, Katherine.

The terms of the settlement, reached last week, were not disclosed, according to court documents.

On behalf of the Prechtels, attorney James Huber of Allentown was seeking at least $350,000 for the loss of Philip Prechtel’s household services, Social Security benefits and health insurance. Huber was also seeking damages for the physical and emotional pain and loss suffered by Katherine Prechtel.,0,5677482.story

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Workers’ Comp Fraud Prevention: State Of Colorado Amends Bill That Would Restrict Video Surveillance That Is Deemed “Intrusive Or Harassing”

The original intent of the bill was to restrict workers’ comp insurers’ use of video surveillance to only cases where the insurer has a reasonable basis to suspect fraud. It also would have imposed a significant fine on insurers that violated the rule. However, the legislation was amended after lawmakers raised concerns that it would seriously hinder insurers’ efforts to prevent fraud.

The amended version prohibits evidence from being introduced at workers’ comp administrative hearings if it is deemed that the surveillance was intrusive, intimidating or harassing. In addition, the evidence would not be permitted if the administrative law judge finds that the investigator, if questioned, misrepresented himself to the claimant and did not disclose on whose behalf he was conducting the surveillance. The legislation would also require insurers to present the surveillance videos to the claimant’s treating physician for review.

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Hospitality Industry Workplace Safety: Assistant Secretary Of Labor Stresses Need To Increase OSHA Penalties Against Employers Who Do Not Comply With OSHA Standards

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who emphasized that current OSHA penalties must be increased in order to motivate employers to increase their compliance with the OSHA standards. Michaels stated that environmental laws currently carry much heavier penalties than penalties under the OSH Act, especially where loss of human life is involved.

(From and article)    The Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the “Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA) (H.R. 2067).” The bill, introduced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), chair of the subcommittee, addresses three major weaknesses in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act:

  • It would expand OSHA coverage to more than 8.5 million state and local public employees who currently have limited or no protection from safety and health hazards at work.
  • It also would amend OSHA’s whistleblower provisions to expedite the process because the current delays in decision-making deprives workers of due process.
  • Finally, the bill would update civil and criminal penalties.

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Restaurant Industry Food Safety: Foodservice Employees’ Illnesses Are A Source Of Contamination At Restaurants And Can Be Traced To A Lack Of Insurance And Paid Sick Days

“…Affordable health insurance and paid sick days for all foodservice employees…would achieve significant and measurable improvements in food safety, especially as it relates to the thousands upon millions of non-outbreak, or sporadic, illnesses caused by contaminated restaurant food each year….”

(From a article)   First, many servers and food workers are responsible for covering their own shifts, which, in these times of lean staffing, can be next to impossible. Second, if they stay home, they make no money. Third, if they appear to “flake out” by not coming to work, they may lose premium shifts. They might even lose their jobs.

And so the food-safety precaution that the restaurant industry relies on to protect customers from much of foodborne illness is the expectation that these employees will decide on their own to stay home.


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