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Quarantine hotel workers at risk of threats and abuse, experts warn | Article

Hotel workers who enforce quarantine rules could face a higher risk of threats or abuse from guests as the Government’s quarantine hotels policy launches, lone worker safety technology specialist Peoplesafe has warned. 

Any hotel worker or security guard working by themselves or out of earshot from colleagues is classed by the HSE as a “lone worker”, placing them at greater risk than they otherwise would be with colleagues nearby. 

The newly enforced quarantine hotels will require all members of staff to deal with each guest on a one-on-one basis, however, which could increase their risk should an incident or conflict of any kind occur.

It comes as Peoplesafe found that threatening or abusive behaviour towards hospitality workers more than doubled last summer compared to previous figures. 

The number of incidents received by the firm in August, September and October increased by 215%, 320% and 170% respectively as hotels opened their doors again between the two lockdowns.

The rise was attributed to staff having to enforce strict Covid-19 rules and being more likely to be working either alone or away from colleagues due to social distancing and a reduced workforce.

The most common incidents recorded by Peoplesafe were hotel workers dealing with abusive or threatening members of the public without other staff nearby to offer support.  

The firm is now calling for security guards and hotel workers to be provided with the appropriate personal safety equipment to enable them to “swiftly and discreetly” send for help if an incident occurs. 

Naz Dossa, CEO of Peoplesafe, said: “Hotel workers and security guards will be on the frontline of the Government’s new travel policies but they must be protected to perform such an essential role. Alongside essential PPE to minimise risk of contracting and transmitting Covid-19, measures must be put in place to address the vulnerability of working alone. 

“We know that across hospitality and retail, threatening and abusive incidents have risen significantly when staff are expected to enforce strict Covid-19 rules: our own figures showed an extraordinary 200% increase in calls to our Alarm Receiving Centre in 2020.” 

He added: “Government must ensure that quarantine hotels conduct thorough risk assessments and provide all workers with appropriate equipment to keep them safe and give them the ability to summon help where needed.”

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