Tag Archives: Health Risks

Hospitality Industry HazMat Risks: South Carolina Hotel Guests Evacuated, Hospitalized After Exposure To Pool Chemical Fumes; Employee Accidently Mixes Muriatic Acid And Chlorine

“…The area where the chemicals were mixed (was) isolated…one of the two chemicals was muriatic acid (and) the other chemical was Hotel Pool Chemical HazMat Riskschlorine (that) were mixed by an employee of the hotel by accident, creating the strong fumes that affected the employees and guests…One of the 12 transported by EMS was an employee of the hotel, but the other eleven were guests. An additional six people were treated at the hotel, but did not require further medical attention…”

The overnight nursing supervisor at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center confirmed all 14 patients who were being Hazardous Materials Teamtreated for respiratory issues following an accidental chemical mixture have been discharged from the hospital. Bob Derr, a Battalion Chief with the City of Myrtle Beach Fire Department confirmed the Hazmat situation was reported after two chemicals were mixed together in the pool maintenance area under the hotel the Landmark Resort at 1501 South Ocean Boulevard, affecting both guests and employees.

Twelve people have been taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center by EMS, and two more drove themselves. All 14 were presenting respiratory issues. Battalion Chief Derr suggested more guests could be transported if they started to show signs of respiratory distress.

Crews did not evacuate the hotel completely. The lower floors were cleared as a precaution.

For more:  http://www.wistv.com/story/23509101/crews-respond-to

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Hospitality Industry Health Hazards: Hotel Owners Must Be Aware Of Risks From “Naegleria Fowleriis”, Known As “Brain-Eating Amoeba” In Warm Fresh Water On Or Around Their Premises

HospitalityLawyer.com“…Hotel owners and operators must be aware of potential N.fowleri hazards in bodies of water on or around their premises. If you offer guests access to recreational bodies of warm fresh water, we recommend making N.fowleri informational brochures available at your front desk; you may even consider providing complimentary nose plugs. Of course, it is absolutely essential that you keep all swimming pools and hot tubs properly chlorinated. Don’t assume that the water in hot tubs and/or hot springs is sufficiently hot to kill N.fowleri; the amoeba can survive temperatures well in excess of 115°F (46°C) for short periods of time…”

Naegleria Fowleri Amoebic Meningitis RiskNaegleria fowleriis an amoeba common to warm bodies of fresh water, including lakes and unchlorinated or poorly chlorinated swimming pools. This amoeba can infect the human nervous system and induce a lethal form of encephalitis when a victim insufflates contaminated water deep into the nasal cavities; while infection is relatively rare, only one percent of all victims survive. This parasite has made the news in recent years with the moniker “brain-eating amoeba” because it feeds on the proteins that help form neurons in our brains.

Both travelers and hotel owners/operators need to understand the conditions that encourage N.fowleri infection, as this amoeba presents a significant health hazard and a potential liability. N.fowleri thrives in warm fresh water; it cannot survive in very cold, salty, or properly chlorinated water. Infections typically occur in stagnant bodies of water, often after swimmers have stirred up sediment (which contains N.fowleri spores), and usually involve an activity like jumping, diving, or wakeboarding. In 2012, two people in Louisiana died from N.fowleri infection after using contaminated tap water with their neti pots. Death almost always occurs one to twelve days after infection.

This past summer, a four year-old boy in Bernard Parish, Louisiana, died of PAM (primary amebic meningoencephalitis, the extremely lethal result of N.fowleri infection) after playing on a Slip ‘n Slide. A twelve year-old boy in LaBelle, Florida, died of PAM after kneeboarding in a water-filled ditch near his home. One very lucky twelve year-old girl from Arkansas managed to survive an N.fowleri infection, making her the third survivor in the recorded history of the disease.

For more:  http://hlconverge.com/

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Hospitality Industry Safety Issues: Top Restaurant Review Website Posts “City Health Inspection Scores” Online; Consumers Can Now More Easily View Inspection Background And History

“…Yelp’s data come from city health inspectors, and the site displays the same information a consumer could find on a government site. But Online Restaurant Health Inspectionsthose sites can be unwieldy and, as Yelp Director of Public Policy Luther Lowe puts it…“Nobody goes to the .gov websites before they go to Yelp. The goal is to put highly relevant information that’s created by taxpayers in a context that makes a lot of sense.”…In a city committed to open data, inspection scores were already available online, via mobile app and in the restaurants themselves. But the new Yelp feature “goes a little bit further” by allowing consumers to read about inspection background and history…”

Yelp.com is starting to make it easier for diners to find a place to eat without getting sick.In August, Louisville became the second city to incorporate health-inspection information into its restaurant pages on the user-review site. San Francisco — Yelp’s home turf — was the first to do so back in January. Now, listed among a restaurant’s business attributes (hours, parking, Wi-Fi access, etc.) is its health score out of 100 possible points and a link to a description of  violations and previous inspections.

The new feature is “empowering the public with information,” says Kathy Harrison, communications director for the Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness.

The response to the addition of health scores has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Lowe says, and Yelp is currently working with a half-dozen other cities to bring health scores to their restaurant pages over the next several months.

For more:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/09/yelp-is-posting-health-inspection-scores/#.UjB2k0nn-M8

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Hospitality Industry Pool Safety: “The Model Aquatic Health Code: Making Swimming Healthy And Safe”

Model Aquatic Health Code CDC-page-001

Model Aquatic Health Code CDC-page-002

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: “Non-Smoking Rooms” In Hotels With Partial Smoking Bans “Are As Polluted With Third Hand Smoke” As Smoking Rooms, New Research Demonstrates

“…Air nicotine levels in smoking rooms were significantly higher than in non-smoking rooms; (but) they were also 40% higher in smoke free hotelsnon-smoking rooms of hotels operating partial smoking bans than in those operating total bans…findings demonstrate that some non-smoking guest rooms in smoking hotels are as polluted with [third hand smoke] as are some smoking rooms…”

Non-smoking rooms in hotels operating a partial smoking ban don’t protect their occupants from tobacco smoke, reveals new research published online in Tobacco Control. The researchers analyzed the surfaces and air quality of rooms for evidence of tobacco smoke pollution (nicotine and 3EP), known as third hand smoke, in a random sample of budget to mid-range hotels in San Diego, California.

Ten hotels in the sample operated complete bans and 30 operated partial smoking bans, providing designated non-smoking rooms.

Non-smokers who spent the night at any of the hotels, provided urine and finger wipe samples to assess their exposure to nicotine and a cancer causing agent found specifically in tobacco smoke—known as NNK—as measured by their metabolites cotinine and NNAL.

The findings showed that smoking in hotels left a legacy of tobacco pollution in both smoking and non-smoking rooms. A partial smoking ban did not protect the occupants of non-smoking rooms from exposure to tobacco pollution.

For more:  http://blogs.bmj.com/tc/2013/05/14/new-study-partial-smoking-bans-in-hotels-fail-to-protect-guests-from-tobacco-smoke/?q=w_tc_blog_sidetab

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Hospitality Industry Health Insurance Solutions: Large Hotel Group “Incentivizing Employees” To Complete Risk Assessments And Increase Activities As Part Of Wellness Program

“…Company executives started by incentivizing employees to complete a risk assessment at no cost to them, and they would receive $50 for their trouble. Approximately 70% of employees participated in the program…(the company) added additional incentives to its wellness program such health insurance nationalas having employees voluntarily pick three activities to improve health. Activities included joining a nutritional plan such as Weight Watchers, joining a fitness club, joining a group exercise plan, getting a dental exam or telephone coaching…”

One of the leaders in addressing the future of health care in the hospitality industry is Loews Corporation. Beginning in 2007, Loews looked at how to improve employee health as part of a self-insurance program. The company saw the benefits of a healthier workforce not only costing Loews less for medical care but also fewer sick days on the job.

With this initial success, Loews increased the incentive to $200 the next year but required employees to agree to a telephone coaching program regarding their health. The participation level dropped to 22%. After walking around talking to employees, executives figured out that employees wanted to hear it from their own doctor. So, the program was adjusted and saw the participation rate increase dramatically. Now, employees go to their doctor to get a preventive exam and do a biometric screening.

Next year, in conjunction with ACA, Loews will remove the direct incentive but will have a two-tiered health plan where if employees have an annual biometric exam with their doctor and select three approved healthy activities to participate in, they will qualify for a lower cost plan. If not, the employee will have a health-care plan with a higher premium as required by their plan administrator.

The hope is that employees will become engaged in wellness activities, choose healthy living habits and help contain health-care costs below the Cadillac tax limit. If for any reason this does not happen, Loews employees have been brought into the discussion that the option of increasing the portion employees pay for their health-care premium, currently set at a low level, may become the only alternative. That’s a real incentive, and innovation at work.

For more:  http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/10292/Wellness-programs-mitigate-health-care-costs

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Hotel And Restaurant Food Handlers Are The Major Source Of Reported “Foodborne Hepatitis A Outbreaks”; Improved Hygiene And Preventive Vaccinations Lower Virus Transmission

“…the source of most reported foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks had involved infected food handlers, such as those Hepatitis A in Hospitality Industryin restaurants or those who prepare food for social events such as weddings…(workers) who have had possible exposure to Hepatitis A and get the necessary shots within 2 weeks of exposure…will have long-term protection against the virus… people infected with the virus are the most infectious two weeks before they actually become ill (and) can be passing the disease on to other people without even knowing they have it…”

What could be better than dining with friends or family at a popular upscale candlelit restaurant in New York City — a restaurant with an “A” sanitation grade from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene?

While that’s how the story began for many of the people who ate at Alta restaurant in the West Village from March 23 to April 2, it ended with the jolting news that if they had had dessert during that time period, they should get a shot (and another one 6 months later) to protect themselves against hepatitis A.

The restaurant’s manager, Manny Solano, told reporters that a pastry chef who had traveled to Mexico discovered she had hepatitis A after going to a doctor because she wasn’t feeling well. It turned out she had contracted the virus during her trip south of the border. In the case of a restaurant employee, hepatitis A can be spread to food or surfaces — and from there to people dining or working at the restaurant — if the worker doesn’t follow basic hygiene practices, chief among them washing his or her hands after going to the bathroom.

And while most food handlers with hepatitis A do not transmit the virus to fellow workers or restaurant patrons (based on surveillance data), many hundreds of restaurant workers have hepatitis A every year, according to the article.

The article concludes by saying that reducing foodborne transmission of the virus can be achieved by improving food production and food handler hygiene and by providing preventive vaccinations to people at risk for infection.

For more:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/04/dessert-followed-by-a-hepatitis-a-shot/#.UWWNA0nn9et

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Florida Hotel Guests Hospitalized With “Flu-Like Symptoms” Were Exposed To High-Levels Of Carbon Monoxide; Broken Exhaust Fans In Boiler Room Caused Gas To Build Up For Days

 “…broken exhaust fans in the building’s boiler room allowed the room to fill with carbon monoxide…a guest staying (next to boiler room) was hospitalized for similar (flu-like) symptoms…but no one made the connection hotel Carbon Monoxide Poisoningto carbon monoxide exposure, and the guest was not tested…firefighters suspect the carbon monoxide level was high since Friday or earlier…”

Guests at a south Fort Myers hotel may have been exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide at least three days before the building was evacuated Monday. Firefighters responded to Crestwood Suites Extended Lodging off U.S. 41 around 12:45 p.m. Monday and discovered high levels of the deadly gas.

Guests were allowed back inside after firefighters shut off the gas and ventilated the building, but two people were hospitalized for exposure. The two hospitalized guests, who were staying near the boiler room, are in good condition and were hospitalized for observation as a precaution, Knudsen said.

Knudsen said firefighters checked carbon monoxide levels after the two guests called Lee County EMS complaining of flu-like symptoms. Responding firefighters noticed the guests’ proximity to the boiler room and suspected their symptoms were caused by an environmental factor.

Firefighters measured the carbon monoxide level in the boiler room at 2,000 parts per million, and in the lobby at 300 parts per million. Exposure to anything above 600 parts per million carries a high risk of death, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry website. Patients can experience symptoms including drowsiness, weakness, nausea, headaches and coma at levels of 160 to 1,000.

For more:  http://www.news-press.com/article/20130226/NEWS0117/302260021/Cause-guests-flu-south-Fort-Myers-hotel-Carbon-monoxide

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Bedbug Infestations Rise In 2012 With Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles And Denver Reporting Most Treatments

“…bedbugs continue to be a problem throughout the U.S…(there is a) need to be very cautious when we travel – Bed Bugs in Hotel Roomswhether it is business or pleasure, or to visit family, friends or vacation.”

Bedbugs are on the rise again in the U.S., which means business is booming for pest control companies like Orkin. With increased travel, both internationally and domestically, and higher bedbug resistance to existing pesticides, Orkin has seen an almost 33 percent boost in bedbug business compared to 2011.

The company has just released its rankings of U.S. cities in order of the number of bedbug treatments from January to December 2012. The “Windy City” of Chicago tops the list, followed by Detroit, Los Angeles, Denver and Cincinnati.

Here are the top 50 U.S. cities, ranked in order of the number of bedbug treatments.  The number in parenthesis is the shift in ranking compared to January to December 2011:

  1.     Chicago (+1)
  2.     Detroit (+1)
  3.     Los Angeles (+2)
  4.     Denver
  5.     Cincinnati (-4)
  6.     Columbus, Ohio
  7.     Washington, D.C. (+1)
  8.     Cleveland/Akron/Canton (+5)
  9.     Dallas/Ft. Worth (-2)
  10.     New York (-1)
  11.     Dayton, Ohio (+4)
  12.     Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (-2)
  13.     Seattle/Tacoma (+14)
  14.     San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (-2)
  15.     Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C. (+4)
  16.     Indianapolis (+15)
  17.     Omaha, Neb. (+11)
  18.     Houston (-7)
  19.     Milwaukee (+13)
  20.     Baltimore (-2)
  21.     Syracuse, N.Y. (+2)
  22.     Boston (-8)
  23.     Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. (+2)
  24.     Lexington, Ky. (-2)
  25.     Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (-1)
  26.     Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (+10)
  27.     Knoxville, Tenn. (+11)
  28.     Buffalo, N.Y. (+1)
  29.     Atlanta (-8)
  30.     Louisville, Ky. (+5)
  31.     Charleston/Huntington, W. Va. (+18)
  32.     San Diego, Calif. (-6)
  33.     Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (+12)
  34.     Minneapolis/St. Paul (+12)
  35.     Phoenix (-1)
  36.     Pittsburgh (-6)
  37.     Honolulu (-19)
  38.     Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Mich. (+1)
  39.     Grand Junction/Montrose, Colo. (-1)
  40.     Nashville, Tenn.
  41.     Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb. (+7)
  42.     Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. (+2)
  43.     Charlotte (-10)
  44.     Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.
  45.     Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif. (-4)
  46.     Las Vegas (-30)
  47.     Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, S.C.
  48.     Champaign/Springfield, Ill.
  49.     Portland, Or.
  50.     Sioux City, Iowa

For more: http://ehotelier.com/hospitality-news/item.php?id=A24912_0_11_0_M

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