Monthly Archives: July 2010

Hotel Industry Health And Safety: Bedbug Infestations Have Risen Over 80% Since 2000 And Hotels And Motels Have Been “Hit Hard”

“A trained and knowledgeable housekeeping staff is one of the best lines of defense, along with having regular pest control inspections,”

Hotels and motels have been hit hard — CNN said 67 percent of nearly 1,000 pest control companies surveyed have treated bedbug infestations in hotels or motels, and overall, calls to deal with bedbugs have increased 81 percent since the year 2000.

Even four and five-star resorts have had problems with infestations, and researchers say it’s not an issue of cleanliness.

“It’s not a hygiene issue, and that’s a very important thing for all consumers to understand,” said Missy Henriksen, a spokeswoman for the National Pest Management Association.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association said that bedbugs are brought into hotels by guests, so the best way to avoid picking up the creatures on your clothes or luggage is to thoroughly check the mattress and sofa before settling into a new hotel room.

“A trained and knowledgeable housekeeping staff is one of the best lines of defense, along with having regular pest control inspections,” the association added.

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Hospitality Industry Workers’ Compensation Risks: Hotel Owners Forced To Pay Large Damage Award For “Failing To Provide A Safe Work Place And Not Procuring Workers’ Compensation Insurance” While Paying Undocumented Clerk In Cash

“…forced the owners of a large hotel chain to pay more than one million dollars in damages due to their negligence in failing to provide a safe work place and not procuring Workers’ Compensation insurance. The hotel chain had a practice of paying their employees cash and not providing Workers’ Compensation insurance…”

 In California, an employer can be sued directly by his employee, if the employer failed to obtain Workers’ Compensation insurance. This is true even if the injuries were primarily caused by the negligence or intentional conduct of third parties. McMahon’s client, a foreign citizen, was working without a visa and the owners were aware that he was an undocumented worker.

The client, working as a night clerk, was summoned to a scuffle at a room in the hotel at 2:00am. He was attacked by guests when they were asked to keep the noise to a minimum. The plaintiff was rendered unconscious and spent almost four weeks at a local county medical facility with various broken bones, teeth, and a head injury. The attackers were eventually convicted of attempted murder and are serving lengthy sentences within the California state prison system.

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Hotel Industry Pool Safety: Hotel Management Must Increase Supervision Around Pools And Spas And Insure Safety Drain Covers Are Installed Properly (Video)

Constant supervision is an important step to ensure safety around pools and spas.

Pool and spa safety drain covers are an important safety step and are required by law.

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Hotel Industry Health Insurance: Nevada Hotel Operator To Subsidize Medical Insurance For Part-Time Employees In Effort To Reduce Turnover

“We recognize the importance of medical insurance for our team members and their families,” Gordon R. Kanofsky, Ameristar’s chief executive officer, said in a written statement. “This is another way we can show team members we appreciate their commitment to delivering outstanding service to our guests.”

Ameristar Casinos, Inc. said Thursday it will begin subsidizing medical coverage for part-time employees after researching methods for reducing part-time employee turnover.

The company, which owns and operates Cactus Petes Resort Casino and the Horseshu Hotel & Casino in Jackpot, Nev., will pay one-half of the premiums for part-time employees working less than 30 hours per week and their dependents.

“We recognize the importance of medical insurance for our team members and their families,” Gordon R. Kanofsky, Ameristar’s chief executive officer, said in a written statement. “This is another way we can show team members we appreciate their commitment to delivering outstanding service to our guests.”

Ameristar hosted focus groups with part-time employees to gauge how effective the program will be, officials said. Employee feedback led to Ameristar’s decision to make the care plan available to all part-time team members.

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Hospitality Industry Employees Risks: Hawaiian Hotels Violated State Law When Service Employees Not Given 100% Of Service Charges For Food And Beverage Service

“…The suit, filed by Turtle Bay employees in January 2009, claimed the resort violated a state law enacted in 2000 that requires hotels and restaurants to give 100% of service charges for food or beverage service entirely to employees – unless they tell customers that management’s keeping a portion, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser says…”

Employees of the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s scenic North Shore won a $526,000 settlement  in a lawsuit over tips that had been split among workers and the company without customers knowing.

At least nine similar suits have been filed over the last two years against major Hawaii hotels, Brandee Faria – the Turtle Bay employees’ lawyer – tells the Star-Advertiser. And it’s not only the employees who are hiring lawyers.

Some of the suits were filed on behalf of hotel customers who thought they’d paid tips to staffers – not hotel management.

In a case against the Four Seasons hotels on Maui and the Big Island, the Star-Advertiser says that Hawaii Supreme Court in March ruled that hotel and restaurant employees may sue under the law.

The Turtle Bay settlement covers 130 employees who worked at the hotel between 2005 and 2009; the amount would mean $4,046 per employee if the settlement was shared equally, the story says. Settlement checks were mailed out recently.

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Hotel Swimming Pool Risk Management: French “Underwater Camera” System Gives Lifeguards “Eyes” To Spot Swimmers In Trouble

The Poseidon system gives the lifeguard underwater “eyes.” It’s made up of overhead and/or underwater cameras, a central computer, an LED display panel and a waterproof touch-screen. The cameras’ analog video feeds are converted to a digital signal by a device called a frame grabber – made by Montreal-based Matrox Imaging – so they can be analyzed by Poseidon’s software.

Developed in France and first sold in 2000 by MG International-Poséidon, Poseidon is an anti-drowning detection system that analyzes video streams in real time and alerts lifeguards to people in trouble in the pool.

The Canadian Red Cross says recreational swimming is the second-leading activity that leads to drowning in Canada. Most drowning victims are young males and those who swim alone.

Drowning can be silent and quick. A swimmer in trouble can enter what lifeguards call a “drowning spiral” within seconds. Once caught in that spiral, the victim becomes immobile, cannot call out and loses consciousness in as little as 12 seconds.

When lifeguards are able to intervene and begin resuscitation within 30 seconds, the victim stands a good chance of recovery. As the amount of time involved in a rescue goes up, the chances of a successful resuscitation fall.

The software algorithms analyze a floating object’s volume and texture to determine if it is a person or just an object in the pool. Once an individual is identified, Poseidon searches for unusual behaviour by comparing the swimmer’s position over consecutive images. When the software detects a motionless presence at the bottom of the pool for 10 seconds, an alarm and siren are activated.

The monitors immediately show the location of the victim, allowing the lifeguards to bring him or her out of the water quickly and start resuscitation.

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Hotel Industry Pool And Spa Risks: Centers For Disease Control Estimates $500 Million In Health Care Costs To Treat “Waterborne Illnesses”

Waterborne illnesses are far from eradicated, and they’re more than just a case of diarrhea. Americans shell out an estimated $500 million in health care costs to treat the conditions each year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Legionnaires’ disease: $101 million to $321 million. Characterized by fever, nausea and diarrhea, and achy flulike symptoms, Legionnaires’ disease afflicts around 25,000 Americans each year.

Diagnosis and treatment can quickly add up. Blood tests, chest X-rays and liver-function tests might be required, and antibiotics are the usual solution. But Legionnaire’s can quickly turn fatal: Among patients who develop it in a hospital, death rates are around 50 percent.

Prevention? Treating water systems is the reliable standby, but the disease can also fester in large air conditioning systems.

Cryptosporidiosis: $37 million to $145 million. Also known as “crypto,” this parasite is found in recreational waterways and drinking water across the country, and is spread through the feces of infected people and animals.

Diarrhea is the characteristic symptom, and though crypto usually clears up on its own, those with compromised immune systems risk hospitalization.

Prevention? This one’s up to you. Don’t swallow pool water, wash your hands thoroughly — and if you’ve recently had crypto, do us all a favor and stay out of the hot tub for at least two weeks.

Giardiasis: $16 million to $63 million. You might know it as “beaver fever,” and you’ve probably been afflicted. The CDC estimates that 2 million Americans suffer giardiasis each year.

The illness, characterized by two weeks of cramps and diarrhea, is usually caused by raw sewage that’s leaked into drinking water. It can be transmitted person to person, leading to communitywide outbreaks.

 Around 80 percent of cases are treated with a course of antibiotics, but resistance to common medications is making beaver fever tougher to tackle.

Prevention? If you’re enjoying the great outdoors, don’t rely on untreated surface water.

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