Monthly Archives: April 2010

Hotel Security And Legal Issues: Municipalities Are Considering Enacting Legislation Which Would Force Hotels To Obtain Photo ID From Guests Or Be Fined

A proposed law before Ocean City’s Town Council would force resort hotels and motels to obtain photo ID from guests, or else face a $1,000 fine.

The board of Ocean City’s Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association unanimously opposes the idea, said HMRA executive director Susan Jones. She said having each and every guest show photo ID would be “cumbersome,” but that a majority of hotels already ask for it.

“We found it a little too intrusive,” she said. “What we were most against in that part of the ordinance was a fine, because how can you tell somebody how to run their business? That’s not a public safety issue.”

“Obviously, we want to work with the police, but in its current written form, we couldn’t support it,” she added.

The matter was on the Town Council’s agenda for this week’s meeting, but it was postponed without discussion.

Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino says it is a matter of public safety.

She asked resort leaders to consider the law as a proactive community policing idea –a tool, she said, meant to help identify any hotel guest suspected of committing a crime. It also would be a measure helping homeland security, she said.

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Hotel Pool Safety: Kids’ Clubs Represent An Important Hotel Amenity But Quality Control Is A Must To Reduce Risk

Kids’ clubs are an important hotel amenity for traveling families, often giving parents a much-needed break while kids are engaged.

But the challenge is there are no standard industry best practices followed for kids’ clubs and quality can be unpredictable.

(From a posting)    A hotel with a well-run kids program can be worth its weight in gold, especially for parents looking to spend some vacation time without worrying about the kids. However, many hotel kids’ programs include swimming as a group activity. Different hotels determine their own rules, which means as a participating family, it is up to you to gauge if the program meets your criteria for safety.

In the discussion, each family travel writer outlined his or her priorities and views around swimming safety in a hotel environment. There were a few points that came up again and again.

  • Child-to-instructor ratios
  • 4-to-1 is the magic number for child-to-instructor ratios.
  • Instructor training

Everyone agrees that instructors need to be CPR certified. Is this enough?

I’d argue that this is sufficient only in cases where 4-to-1 ratios are followed without exception. Otherwise, it’s necessary to have lifeguards present at the pool watching the water without distractions, i.e., they are not engaged in any unrelated parent and/or child communication and without any electronic devices.

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Hospitality Industry Safety Training: Hotel And Restaurant Owners Must Provide Training “Tailored To The Employees’ Language And Education”

“If the employees receive job instructions in a language other than English, then training and information … will also need to be conducted in a foreign language.”

In a 1999 letter of interpretation OSHA states “instruction … must be tailored to the employees’ language and education …”

(From a article)   There is no single OSHArule for training – employee trainingis a requirement in several different OSHA standards. In a recent speech, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced a number of new worker training initiatives that will be implemented by OSHA.

According to Solis, OSHA currently requires that training provisions under its standards be provided in a language or a form that the workers can understand. The agency further requires that its compliance officers verify that workers have received the training required by OSHA standards.

However, effective April 28th, OSHA compliance officers will check not only that the training has been provided, but that it was provided in a format that the workers being trained can understand.

This new effort stems from an incident in which a worker was crushed to death in a machine she was cleaning. She had not been trained on how to clean the machinery safely and had not been given the manual to read because the employer stated that the employee could not speak or read English.

“This defies logic and is reprehensible!” stated Solis.

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Hotel Swimming Pool Water Health Risks: Maintaining Pool Equipment And Water Quality, Including Cleaning Pool Decks Daily, Can Help Reduce Health Hazards

Swimming pool water care involves you cleaning your pool deck and walkways at least once a day. This will help in keeping contaminants from entering into your pool or spa water. Additionally, maintaining good water quality and eliminating non-enteric waterborne illnesses, require daily swimming pool cleaning.

(From a article)   Some waterborne illnesses are caused by non-enteric pathogens. These pathogens can be found in poorly maintained swimming pools and spas. Because of these potential health hazards, your swimming pool equipment and your water quality, should be checked constantly. This is a daily requirement.Non-enteric pathogens that are usually found in poorly maintained swimming pools include:

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This is an opportunistic pathogen that causes infection of the respiratory system. It can also cause dermatitis and infections of the soft tissues in the body.Pseudomonas pathogens are usually found in a biofilm environment. Biofilm is normally found in the circulation system of your swimming pools and spas. This pathogen can tolerate a variety of physical conditions and it is highly resistant to antibiotics

Symptoms that are associated with pseudomonas aeruginosa!

Symptoms for this particular form of waterborne illnesses that are found in pools, are as follows:

  • Itchy skin. 
  • Bumpy rashes that are tender to the touch and appear reddish in color. 
  • Puss filled blisters that usually form around your hair follicles. The reason for this, is due to the fact that infection of pseudomonas usually forms in the hair follicles.

Other non-enteric pathogens that are found in pools and spas!

When the circulation system for your swimming pools and spas are poorly maintained, non-enteric pathogens are developed. These include:

  • Mycobacterium spp. 
  • Staphylococius aureus. 
  • Leptospira interrogans. 
  • Trichophyton spp. 
  • Epidmerophyton floccosum. this pathogen usually is the cause for dermic or respiratory infections. 
  • Acanthamoeba spp. 
  • Human papilloma virus. 
  • Legionella pneumophila. This particular type of waterborne illness, is commonly referred to as legionellosis or legionnaires disease. This is a severe case of pneumonia. Sadly this bacteria exist in poorly maintained spas and is transmitted through the mist that is common with this type of environment.Legionella pneumophila cause two different types of diseases. The first is called legionnaires disease, as was mentioned earlier. This my friend is the more severe form of the waterborne illnesses. The next stage of this infection, is called pontiac fever. Fortunately for us, this is the more milder side of the disease.Proper disinfectant levels in your spa, along with frequent maintenance of your filter, are critical steps necessary to control these bacteria. 
  • Molluscipox virus. This is a virus that causes molluscum contogiosum. Molluscum contogiosum is a common skin infection that is not serious. It will clear up on its own, without any form of treatment. Nevertheless the condition could take up to several months before it clears but there are no long term effects it. 
  • Verrucas. This infection, is commonly known as plantar warts. Waterborne illnesses of this type are usually acquired through direct contact with pool decks and locker room floors which have been contaminated. Contamination of these surfaces, are usually caused by skin fragments that are the cause of the infections.The skin fragments which are shed by other users, are normally infected with causative papliomavirus. Ordinarily, preventing plantar warts is achieved through regular cleaning and maintenance of your swimming pool decks and locker room floors. 
  • Athlete’s foot. This is a ringworm infection that is caused by dermatophyte fungi. A very itchy scale between the toes is indication of this infection. Athlete’s foot is contracted in the same manner as plantar warts.Infections is again from infected skin fragments that have the dermatophyte fungi. Individuals with severe cases of this condition, should not be allowed to use your recreational water facility. This will eliminate infection of other users.


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Hospitality Industry Pool Safety: Hotel Owners Must Comply With Federal Pool And Spa Safety Act Provisions

President George W. Bush signed into law the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act on Dec. 18, 2007, which requires public pools and spas to be equipped with safety devices to prevent such accidents.

The drain covers are designed to prevent someone from covering the entire drain and becoming entrapped. Suction-limiting devices are installed in the pool’s plumbing system and cause the pool’s motor to shut off if pressure rises in the piping, as it does in the case of a blocked drain.

(From an article)  In June 2002, a 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker found herself trapped against a hot tub floor drain. She was held under water until she drowned.

The suction created by the hot tub motor was so strong it required two men to free her from the bottom of the pool.

President George W. Bush signed into law the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act on Dec. 18, 2007, which requires public pools and spas to be equipped with safety devices to prevent such accidents.

After May 1, swimming pools and whirlpools that do not meet the new safety standards will not be permitted to operate. The law applies to pools operated by the Rockford Park District, the YMCA, the school districts and community centers — most of which are or soon will be in compliance.

The federal mandate is being enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Illinois Department of Public Health, which regulates and renews licensing for swimming pools and whirlpool operations.

The law, named for the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker, requires all pool drains to be equipped with anti-entanglement drain covers or suction-limiting devices.

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Hospitality Industry Workplace Injuries: Over 4% Of California State Workers’ Comp Claims Filed For Hospitality Workers With Injuries Including Skin Wounds, Strains, And Other Injuries Leading To Over $1.1 Billion In Benefit Payments

The study detailed data on more than 137,000 claims filed by restaurant workers in California for work-related injuries that occurred from January 2000 through the end of 2008. Researchers said that more than 90 percent of the claims were filed by employees in restaurants and taverns. Workers employed in facilities such as wineries, country clubs and hotels were also included in the sample.

(From a article)   Total medical and indemnity benefit payments on these claims amounted to just under $1.1 billion. In addition to accounting for 4.1 percent of the state’s workers’ comp benefit payments, restaurant workers filed 6.1 percent of all California job injury claims.

Leading claims. The study found that the number one injury diagnosis for restaurant workers was minor wound/injury to the skin. Researchers said these injuries represented nearly one out of three restaurant claims, but only 4.4 percent of the loss payments because workers were treated quickly and returned to work with no lost time. On the other hand, medical back problems without spinal cord involvement — typically sprains and strains — made up less than one in five restaurant claims but carried a much higher average cost and consumed almost one-third of paid losses in this sector.

Rounding out the top five injury categories were shoulder, arm, knee and lower leg sprains (10.4 percent of the claims and 8.8 percent of paid losses); other injuries, poisonings and toxic effects (8.1 percent of the claims and 9.4 percent of the payments); and ruptured tendons, tendonitis, myositis and bursitis (3.8 percent of the claims and 6 percent of the payments). Researchers found that second- or third-degree burns represented 3.6 percent of the restaurant claims. However, burn injuries accounted for only 1.4 percent of the total dollars paid on restaurant claims (about five times the proportion found for all industries).

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Spa Pool Risks: Hopsitality Owners Should Be Aware Of Microorganisms Present In Spa Pools And Take Steps To Prevent Proliferation

 The risk potential of contact with pathogens through spa pool use has been exacerbated through the promotion of the therapeutic properties of spas. Spa treatments can provide suffers of muscular skeletal disorders, such as rheumatism, relief from pain. However, this has become confused with mineral spa treatments for general ailments. Consequently, many people suffering from common illnesses, such as influenza or digestion complaints, frequent leisure spa pools hoping to gain some relief from their symptoms. Unfortunately, such practice can introduce the bacteria into the Spa system and consequently increase the risk of infection for other bathers.

(From a posting)   Spa pools are the third most common cause of legionnaires disease and are known to harbour other bacteria that can cause serious skin complaints and even blindness.

A commercial spa pool should be considered as any bath that consists of a self-contained body of water, which is recirculated, filtered, heated, and chemically treated but is not emptied and cleaned and refilled after each bather.

Due to the high water temperatures (30-40°C), availability of nutrients and convoluted design Spa pools are particularly prone to microorganism proliferation. Furthermore, due to the high level of contact between the bather’s skin and the spa surface, biofilms quickly form and so frequent cleaning is essential.

Continuous filtration to remove contaminants and the application of a disinfectant is imperative in order to ensure safe hygienic conditions.

Spa pools should not be considered as small swimming pools. Spa pools operate with much smaller volumes of water in relation to the number of bathers that use them. In addition, water temperatures are much higher as is aerosol generation and the general risk to bathers from the number of water borne pathogens.

The following table identifies the micro flora that are of particular concern in spas:

Bacteria Illness Description Other Detail
Shigella Diarrhoea, Fever, Nausea 1-3 day incubation, 4-7 day illness,
E Coli Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Fever 3-4 day incubation, & day illness
Giardia Gastroenteritis 7-12 day incubation, 7-10 day illness,
Cryptosporidium Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Fever, Cramps 7 day incubation, 10-14 day illness,
Legionella Flu Like Pneumonia Aerosols – SPA & HVAC
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Follicultis – Swelling of Ear Canal Transmitted on Any Wet Surface
Mycobacterium spp Broken Skin Infections Bather Shed on Wet Surfaces
Mycobacterium. Avium Respiratory Illness – Flu Hypersensitivity pneumonitis Bather Shed.
Aerosol Transmission
Staphylococcus Aureus Skin, Wound, Eye & Ear Infections. Impetigo Bather Shed.
Leptospira Interrogans Weils Disease – Haemorrhagic Jaundice
Aseptic Meningitis
10-20 day incubation, Pool Infected by Urine from Infected Humans and Animals

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