Hotel Panic Button for Massachusetts State: Safer Hotels for Workers Act
What is the Safer Hotels for Workers Act?
The Bill for safer hotels applies to any hotel, inn, boarding house, motel or other establishment which contains at least 25 guest rooms.
Any full-time or part-time employee who is assigned to work in a guest room or in any enclosed area where no other employee is present but where guests may be reasonably expected to be present, must be issued with a panic button device.
The employee may use the panic button and cease work if the employee reasonably believes there is an act of violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other emergency happening in their presence. Panic buttons must be provided by the hotel at no cost to the employee.
If a hotel owner is found to be in violation of The Safer Hotels for Workers Act, they will be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $10,000. Massachusetts law stipulates that each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
Date of Compliance
This bill has been introduced and has been forwarded to the house committee for review and will take effect 1 year after passage. If a panic button is used to alert management of an incident, a record of the accusation and the name of the accused guest must be recorded and kept for a period of three years from the date of the incident. Massachusetts have also introduced legislation regarding those accused of committing crimes on hotel premises.
Panic Buttons – What to look for:
Marriott International Hotels
Marriott International, plans to provide employees in the U.S. and Canada with safety devices/panic buttons, with the goal to fully install and integrate by 2020.
Hilton has already implemented employee safety devices at numerous hotel locations and plan to deploy devices for all employees working in guestrooms at Hilton-managed properties in the U.S. by 2020. In addition, Hilton plans to include anti-harassment and anti-trafficking policies and training at all their properties.
Hyatt became one of the first hotel brands to issue safety devices to employee who work in guestrooms. This is a brand standard for Hyatt-managed full-service hotels in the U.S., and more than half of full-service franchise Hyatt hotels will implement safety devices to staff.
IHG has deployed safety devices to employees at numerous hotel locations within the U.S. and plan to fully implement safety devices at their managed hotels in the U.S. by 2020. As well as mandatory and enhanced workplace training for corporate and hotel employees in the U.S.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts plan to deploy employee safety devices to all employees in the U.S. who are assigned to work alone in guestrooms. These devices will be provided to the employee at no cost. Wyndham also plans to roll out mandatory, annual anti-sexual harassment, discrimination, and human trafficking training for all employees.
Accor plans to equip employees who enter guestrooms and restrooms unaccompanied with safety devices by 2020. Accor also has a strict policy against sexual harassment and will also provide mandatory trainings to employees.
Best Western Hotels
Best Western branded hotels in the U.S. are required by the end of 2020 to provide employees with safety devices, at no cost to hotel employees who are assigned to work alone in hotel guestrooms or hotel areas. In addition, employees will be provided with training to identify and report sexual harassment.
Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson will deploy employee safety devices for hotel employees who work alone in guestrooms by 2020. Mandatory anti-sexual harassment policies and trainings will be provided to all employees.
Find a device that does not rely solely on hotel staff to support a worker who signals for help. Both silent and noise-producing panic buttons should be monitored by a number of on-site and remote staff AND a professional back office NOC.
When it comes to life safety, text alerts that can be silenced are not sufficient. Choose a vendor partner who provides a variety of media types with dedicated web apps that are always on, a physical computer station and/or an obvious visible/audible alert system.
Don’t settle for a device that stands completely outside the ecosystem of your current hotel operations. Have a back of house management system? Then choose a partner who has those integrations built-in. Want to run it off your hotel’s Wi-Fi? Find one that can work with your brand to provide fewer points of failure (no physical hub needed).