Hotel industry in mauritius

Chapter 1

Introduction

The hotel industry in Mauritius is an important industry since it is closely linked to tourism and business travel. As such it is an important part in the economy of Mauritius. There are a number of people, be it a contract worker or part time worker, work in the industry. The tourism industry is of great importance to the local economy. Tourism is still very much a growth industry in Mauritius. There is no doubt that tourism has contributed much to the economic progress of the island and to the general welfare of its inhabitants. Indeed, tourism is the third pillar of the Mauritian economy and foreign earnings from tourism. It is obvious that tourism will continue to be an important contributor to the economy in the coming decades.

Government and most operators in the sector expect tourism arrivals to increase significantly in the coming years. In view of the possible increase in arrivals, it becomes important to study and understand the dynamics of that industry, its impact on the environment whether physical or social and the manifold implications an increase in arrivals will bring about for Mauritius. There is also a need to discuss, at all levels of Mauritian society, the future of this industry and whether the path it is taking is sustainable and desirable for all concerned.

The majority of hotels have been built on the coast because the main attraction for tourists in Mauritius is the sea and its beaches. There is a concentration of hotels in the north-west ( The Trou-aux-Biches to Grand Baie region) , the west (Flic en Flac up to Le Morne) and to the east ( Belle-Mare).

This distribution of hotels is due to the fact that the most beautiful and scenic beaches are to be found at those locations.

As the number of arrivals of tourists is expected to increase steadily over the next few years there is considerable pressure from property developers to obtain permission from government for the construction of more hotels around the coastline.

Unfortunately, one major characteristics of hotel construction in Mauritius is the fact that most hotels have been and are being built directly on the sea front. This means that the hotel is sandwiched between the seashore and the coastal road. In consequence, more hotel construction means reduced public access to the same beaches.

In view of the fact that due to an increase in wealth and standard of living of the local population, more and more people spend time at the seaside on weekends and holidays, there is an increased demand by the public for more public beaches and better amenities on site. This obviously conflicts with the demand from property developers for more sea frontage.

Potential for conflicts is now real. The further development of tourism will require on behalf of government new policies that can reconcile the legitimate demands of the population for more leisure amenities and that of the tourism industry.

In that perspective, the government is encouraging the development of inland tourism and eco-tourism. The idea is to encourage tourists to visit the interior of the island and its sites. The island has much to offer in that respect.

There are several main departments performing with different functions within the hotels. For example, housekeeping, front desk, food and beverages, kitchen, stewarding, laundry and maintenance.

The employees are affected by a wide varieties of risks and hazards in their place of work resulting in accidents and diseases depending on their tasks they performed. These staffs from the Hotels can be exposed to health hazards like noise, chemicals, physical, stress and also the musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. In their work they may have the risks of accidents like electrocution, fire and explosion, slips, trips, knocks and falls, cuts, burns and scalds, occupational accidents and diseases. As such causing absenteeism, sickness, disability and even death.

Objectives

The objectives of the mini project is to provide information and guidance on the:

  • Identification of hazards and its prevention
  • Safety and health programmes

As per the occupational safety and health act 2005,

Section 5

* Every employer shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all his employees.

1. The employer shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health and to provide information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the safety and health at work of his employees;

And

In section 14,

2. bind the employees while at work to take reasonable care for the safety and health of himself and of the persons who may be affected by his acts omissions at work

Aspect of health

It is defined as the signs of anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards arising in ao from the workplace that could impair the health and wellbeing of workers, taking into consideration the possible impact on the surrounding communities and the general environment.

The general definition of health is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” by the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION.

There are 2 types of health:

  • mental health
  • physical health

Mental health:

Mental healthrefers to our cognitive, and/or emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel and behave. Mental health, if somebody has it, can also mean an absence of a mental disorder.Your mental health can affect your daily life, relationships and even your physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

TheWorld Health Organizationdefines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.It was previously stated that there was no one “official” definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how “mental health” is defined.

Physical health:

Physical health is the overall condition of a living organism at a given time, the soundness of the body, freedom from disease or abnormality, and the condition of optimal well-being. People want to function as designed, but environmental forces can attack the body or the person may have genetic malfunctions. The main concern in health is preventing injury and healing damage caused by injuries and biological attacks.

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Modes of hazards present:

A hazard is usually used to describe a potentially harmful situation, although not usually the event itself – once the incident has started it is classified as an emergency or incident. There are a number of modes for a hazard, which include:

  • Dormant – the hazards are present but not harmful to them and the environment.
  • Potential – This is a situation where the hazard is in the position to affect persons, property or environment.
  • Active – The hazard is certain to cause harm, as no intervention is possible before the incident occurs.

Chapter 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

The employer has a legal & morale duty to take care of his staff, employees and visitors as far as reasonably practicable to make sure that they are not injured or affected by the activities of work they perform. Hotel workers are engaged in several types of work at their work place.

This mini project provides informations on significant risk areas to look for and prepares and gives practical examples of solutions that can be applied in the hotel workplace.

The main statutory requirements

Provide a safe place of work

The hotels should be a place free from hazards so that noone will sustain injuries

Provide a safe system of work

  • Every work should be done as procedures and instruction

Provide safe plant and equipment

  • Equipment used over there should be used in a good operational system
  • Staff training and supervision for the job they are doing
  • The employer shall instruct and train their employees at their workplace

Provide adequate welfare facilities

  • Provide adequate facilities to the workers

Types of Hazards

Various types of hazards have been identified and are listed below:

  • the risk of musculoskeletal disorders,
  • injuries
  • health hazards such as chemicals,
  • noise and thermal stress
  • the risk of accidents from slips and trips,
  • knocks and falls,
  • cuts,
  • burns and scalds,
  • electrocution and
  • fire and explosion.

Occupational accidents and diseases can result in:

  • suffering,
  • sickness absenteeism,
  • productivity loss,
  • disability or
  • Even death.
  • Dermatitis

The main causes of injury

Causes of injury

Factors

Manual Handling

Lifting of heavy objects

knocks and falls, slips

Fall from low height and stairs, slips due to oil on floor and knocks due to obstructed walking ways

fire and explosion.

Due to leakage of gas when igniting the gas ignited appliances

Machinery

Accidents with mixers and slicers, dough mixers etc

Electric shock

Poor maintenance of electrical appliances and power cords, overloading of electrical sockets

Exposure to hazardous substances, hot surfaces and steam

Hot surfaces , steam escape from oven, carrying hot objects

Struck by moving articles

Falling objects when unloading

MANUAL HANDLING

Manual handling involves any activity that requires the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move any load. Manual handling can result in injuries to any part of the body. Back injuries and strains and sprains are very common. It was previously thought that the weight of a load and whether it was lifted ‘correctly’, were the main causes of injury.

A combination of factors can increase the risk of injury arising from manual handling:

  • actions and movements
  • workplace and workstation layout
  • working posture and position
  • duration and frequency of manual handling
  • location of loads and distances moved
  • weight of loads, and forces exerted
  • characteristics of loads and equipment
  • work organisation
  • work environment
  • skills and experience
  • age
  • clothing
  • special needs.

SLIP, TRIPS AND FALLS

Slips, trips and falls are a common occurrence in workplaces. People slip and trip on slippery, rough or uneven surfaces and may fall down stairs or off ladders.

The results of slips, trips and falls include broken bones, abrasions, contusions, strains, sprains, back or spinal injuries and other serious injuries. During a slip, trip or fall accident, injury may be caused by over stretching joints, bones and ligaments. Some injuries are caused when injured employees try to correct their balance or attempt to stop falling.

A combination of factors can increase the risk of injury arising from slips, trips and falls:

  • insufficient friction between an employee’s shoes and floor surface
  • slippery surfaces (eg. wet floors)
  • sudden transition in floor surfaces from rough to smooth (eg. from carpet to polished timber)
  • downwards slopes (eg. ramp) or differences in floor levels
  • rubbish, dirt, foreign materials or unsecured matting/carpeting on the floor surface (eg. loose mat or ripped carpet)
  • a film of fine dust of the floor
  • fine growth (eg. moss on exterior pavements or walkways)
  • inadequate floor washing methods leaving grease build-up or detergent residue
  • employees’ shoes not slip resistance.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Electrocution

Electrocution occurs when the human body becomes part of an electric circuit through which current passes. Electrical equipment and appliances should be regularly inspected by a qualified electrician to ensure that they remain in good working condition and will not pose a danger to unsuspecting staff. Extreme care should be taken in workplaces where workers come into contact with fluids that may be good conductors of electricity.

Electricity is a major cause of fatalities and serious injuries in industry. Electricity can cause:

  • electric shock resulting in death, burns and injury
  • fire
  • electrical explosion.

HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

Hazardous substances and dangerous goods are substances used and/or produced at work that have the potential to harm the health and safety of people at work. They can be gases, liquids, solids, fumes, dusts, fibres or vapours either naturally occurring, or manufactured pure substances or mixtures.

The hospitality industry is exposed to numerous hazardous substances including adhesives, cleaning agents, solvents, oils and pesticides. Some examples include:

  • disinfectant used as cleaning agents
  • carbon dioxide gas cylinders used in cellars for draught beers and bulk mineral dispensing systems
  • oven cleaning agents used in the kitchen

HOUSEKEEPING

The main reasons for housekeeping activities are to ensure general cleanliness and sanitation of facilities. Cleaning procedures are designed to remove bacteria and any other contaminants, leaving surfaces dry and minimising bacterial survival.

With the spread of infectious diseases, staff should take special care when handling or cleaning anything that might have had contact with another person’s blood or other body fluids.

This may include razor blades, syringes, sanitary napkins, soiled sheets and towels, vomit or excreta. It is vital that cleaning procedures do not merely transfer bacteria from one surface to another.

This means:

  • maintaining good personal hygiene
  • cleaning equipment (including clothes) thoroughly after use and allowing it to dry where appropriate
  • cleaning high risk items such as toilets, baths, hand basins, food and drinking preparation equipment and surfaces with items/cloths reserved for that particular purpose.
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KITCHEN, FOOD PREPARATION AND SERVICE AREAS

Much of the equipment used in preparing, cooking and serving food in catering establishments, shops and restaurants is so familiar that it is easy to forget the potential hazard it can present during use, cleaning and maintenance.

Different kinds of accidents occur in workplaces where food is prepared and served. They can cause a range of injuries including:

  • strains
  • scalds
  • serious burns
  • lacerations
  • fractured bones
  • amputated limbs/fingers.

A combination of factors can increase the risk of injury arising from the working environment in kitchens, food preparation and service areas. These include:

  • poor kitchen layout
    • limited space to move safely and avoid collision with staff and equipment
    • cramped or inadequate working areas – staff using knives and other hand tools should have adequate room to work safely without risk of accidentally stabbing themselves or another worker
    • insufficient room to move trolleys and to carry trays safely, especially around exposed hot surfaces such as griddle tops
    • obstructing thoroughfares with storage cupboards that have side and bottom hinged doors that open into them
    • incorrect positioning of equipment (eg. deep fat fryer next to a sink)
    • IN and OUT doors not clearly marked
    • catering equipment installed on uneven surfaces or an unsecured base or inappropriate position
    • poorly maintained equipment, especially that which is fitted with casters and brakes (eg. catering or laundry trolleys)
  • floors
    • worn, slippery or uneven floor surfaces
    • inadequate drain/garbage disposal systems to remove water, steam and other kitchen wastes
    • minimal provision for spillage
    • inappropriate foot wear i.e. without protective slip resistant soles
    • insufficient storage/layout leading to hot pots and pans being placed on the floor
  • lighting
    • inadequate, uneven lighting that reduces handling and cleaning of equipment and products
    • inappropriate position of light fittings that produces glare or shadows
    • temperature
    • high temperatures, humidity and poor ventilation.

STRUCK AGAINST OR BY OBJECTS

Injuries can occur when persons are hit by hard, heavy or sharp objects. When materials are not properly stacked, they may collapse, causing injuries to persons nearby. Narrow and cluttered passageways can contribute to the risk of such accidents. When trolleys and carts are not handled with care, accidents may also arise.

FIRE AND EXPLOSION

There is a risk of fire and explosion in workplaces which use flammable substances like LPG and Town gas or high-pressure applications. Improper usage or faulty electrical installations could also result in fires.

Chapter 3

Proposed methodology

Identifying Hazards

A hazard is anything that may cause injury or illness to you, your staff, or your customers either in the short or the long term.

There are three ways you can do this:

  • Inspect the workplace with your staff using a checklist like the one provided in Appendix C. The inspections are not done to pick fault, they are to identify hazards that may pose a risk to the people working in the area.
  • Talk with your staff about the hazards they have seen or know of in their work environment.
  • Accidents and accident data can also be very useful for identifying where hazard areas are.

Next you need to create a list of the hazards you have identified in your workplace called a Hazard Register.

3.4.2. Assess the Risks

Risk is a combination of the likelihood that the hazard will cause an injury and the severity of the injury.

  • First you have to determine how likely it is that someone may be exposed to the hazard.
  • Then you consider how severe the potential injury or illness may be and you work out the severity using this table.

Likelihood

Consequence

Fatality

Critical

Major

Serious

Minor

frequent

1

1

1

2

2

Could happen

1

1

2

2

3

Rare

1

2

2

3

3

Never

2

2

3

3

3

You should record the number in Column B of the Hazard Register, which will determine the severity.

Anything that you rank as a 1 — you need to fix immediately.

Hazards that rank at 2 — you need to be fixed but are perhaps not that urgent.

Hazards that rank 3 — may not require fixing as the risk may be negligible.

Recommendation

MANUAL HANDLING

Control measures include:

  • general principles
    • minimise lifting and lowering forces exerted
    • avoid the need for bending, twisting and reaching movements
    • reduce pushing, lowering, pulling, carrying and holding
  • job redesign
    • modify the object to be handled
    • modify the workplace layout
    • use different actions, movement and forces
    • rearrange materials or work flow
    • modify tasks using mechanical equipment or team lifting
    • lighten loads
  • provide general and specific training in the principles of correct manual handling, recognition of manual handling risks and/or specific manual handling training
  • use other administrative controls that consider special needs (eg. job rotation).

SLIP, TRIPS AND FALLS

Control measures include:

  • increase the texture of floor coverings
  • improve cleaning methods to prevent build-up of grease/detergent
  • provide facilities for umbrellas at entrances
  • initiate procedures to ensure regular dust removal or immediate removal of spills followed by ‘dry mopping’
  • minimise differences in floor levels
  • design stairs to meet the requirements of the LAW
  • apply non-slip nosing on stairs
  • ensure adequate lighting for internal and external stairs
  • provide slip resistant surfaces on ramps
  • provide ample storage space, to avoid materials being placed in aisles/walkways
  • provide fixed matting in areas where employees are required to stand on concrete for long hours
  • set absorbent flooring materials into entrance areas
  • use commercial products to effectively remove moss and lichen growth
  • remove trip hazards by providing ducting for power, telephone and computer cabling and fixing worn or ripped carpet
  • wear appropriate work shoes.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Control measures include:

  • switching off or disconnecting (isolating) all possible sources of electricity
  • treating all wires as live and testing the circuit immediately
  • using appropriately qualified and competent electrical workers and providing adequate training, instruction and supervision of all employees
  • ensuring supply remains isolated with the use of lock out equipment, tagging and isolating devices
  • using suitable insulation materials and equipment
  • ensuring proper maintenance, cleaning, inspecting, testing and storing of all electrical equipment
  • using warning notices and safety signs
  • working in pairs when working with electricity
  • implementing appropriate first aid procedures
  • being aware of the dangers of working near overhead power lines
  • using PPE (e.g. insulated gloves and footwear)
  • Not allowing extension leads to be coiled tightly and overheated when in use
  • not allowing cables to be places on floors without protection or permitting trucks or trolleys to run over electrical cables
  • replacing frayed or damaged electrical cables and leads.
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ELECTROCUTION

  • Report any damaged plugs, wires, electrical equipment
  • Keep power cords away from heat, water and oil
  • Do not clean electrical equipment with flammable or toxic solvents
  • Provide a system for inspection and maintenance of electrical appliances
  • Establish a set of lockout-tagout procedures for the repair and maintenance of electrical equipment
  • Do not overload electrical points

HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

Control measures include:

  • using physical instead of chemical processes
  • using alternative substances or processes which are less hazardous
  • using engineering controls (eg. local exhaust systems)
  • using barriers or isolation
  • minimising the number, duration and frequency of employees exposed
  • regular cleaning and housekeeping
  • providing separate eating and drinking amenities for employees
  • ensuring appropriate safety signs, training, instruction and provision of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and labels
  • using appropriate PPE.

HOUSEKEEPING

Control measures include:

  • placing warning signs around floors being cleaned
  • loading trolleys carefully so that items will not fall off or obstruct the operator’s view
  • maintaining good housekeeping – don’t clutter floor with items removed from shelves
  • using colour coded cleaning cloths (eg. red cloths for toilets, yellow cloths for baths and hand basins, and green for general purpose areas)
  • wearing gloves when using hazardous substances, handling items or cleaning surfaces that might be contaminated
  • disposing of sharp objects in metal or plastic bins
  • disposing of or sterilising cleaning equipment used to clean spills of blood, vomit or other body fluids.

Struck Against or by Objects

Control measures include:

  • Ensure goods and materials are stacked in a safe manner
  • Make use of the correct personal protective equipment
  • Do not rush through swing doors, especially with trolleys

FIRE AND EXPLOSION

Control measures include:

  • Ensure steam boilers are inspected at least once every 12 months by an Authorised Boiler Inspector
  • Ensure air or steam receivers are inspected at least once every 24 months by an Authorised Boiler Inspector
  • Ensure that the boiler attendants are properly trained and certified
  • Provide workers working in the boiler rooms with hearing protectors

SAFETY AND HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Management of safety and health should be no different from the way other aspects of the hotel and restaurant businesses are managed. Employers are encouraged to develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health programme to prevent workplace accidents and work-related illnesses and to establish a safe and healthy working environment.

SAFETY POLICY AND ORGANISATION

The management’s commitment is important to ensure the success of the safety and health programme. There should be a written policy which clearly states the management’s commitment and approach towards establishing a safe and healthy work environment. The policy should state the organisation’s safety and health philosophy and structure, including objectives and goals to be achieved. It should spell out the duties and responsibilities of both management and staff. The written policy should be endorsed by the top management and communicated to all levels of restaurant staff, including contractors.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

Employers have a duty to ensure the safety and health of their staff and should take the lead in promoting safety and health, be it in the hotel.

Safety personnel should be appointed to advise management on all occupational safety and health matters and assist in the implementation of safety and health programmes.

Employees should understand that safety and health is not just the responsibility of the employer.They too have a role to play.

SAFE WORK PROCEDURES

Employers are encouraged to establish safe work procedures for the various types of work carried out in the hotels and restaurants. Wherever possible, these procedures should be incorporated into the standard operating procedures for staff to follow. Safe work procedures should be effectively communicated to all staff.

SAFETY AND HEALTH TRAINING

Safety and health training is important in providing staff with the knowledge and skills to work in a safe manner. A programme to identify the safety and health training needs for each level of staff is useful for making training plans.

Safety and health training can and should be incorporated into the operational training of the staff. Such training can be carried out on-the-job, by trained supervisors, or by external trainers. Training records should be kept and training materials reviewed on a regular basis.

SAFETY AND HEALTH INSPECTION

It is important to establish an effective programme to carry out periodic inspections to identify potential hazards, unsafe acts and conditions in the workplace, as well as to monitor any changes in the work process.

Such inspections should involve both the management and the employees. The findings from such inspections should be recorded and analysed.

MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME

An effective maintenance programme should be established for all equipment, machinery and appliances used. This will help prevent accidents resulting from the failure of such equipment and machinery.

The programme should include the establishment of a complete list of machinery and equipment used within each premises, inspection and maintenance schedules and records. There should also be a system for staff to report any defective or damaged tool or equipment in the course of their work.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Occupational Health and Safety Management focus on prevention of illness, injury and damage to plant or the environment. However unplanned incidents can and do happen. The organisation should plan for such emergencies in advance and periodically test these plans to ensure that adequate response occurs during an actual emergency. Emergencies in the hotel industry must be appropriately and adequately planned and prepared for – an urgent, significant and coordinated response is required. Apart from employees in the workplace, the hotel industry usually has large numbers of people/tourists that must be considered in an emergency.

An emergency is a situation due to an actual or imminent occurrence which:

  • endangers or threatens to endanger, the safety and health of people, or
  • is a dangerous situation that needs urgent attention to bring it under control, fix the cause and establish a safe workplace.

DOCUMENTATION AND REVIEW OF PROGRAMME

There should be a system for the documentation and regular review of the programme. This is to facilitate retrieval of relevant documents and to ensure that the programmes remain relevant and effective. All revisions to the safety and health manual should be dated and endorsed by authorised personnel. Recommendations that result from such reviews should be considered and implemented wherever possible.

References

  1. http://www.mom.gov.sg……………occupational safety n health guidelines
  2. http://internet-stg.wshc.gov.sg workplace safety guidelines Chinese
  3. http://www.safework.sa.gov.au
  4. Occupational safety and Health Act 2005
  5. http://www.worksafebc.com
  6. http://www2.worksafebc.com/publications/OHSRegulation/WorkersCompensationAct.asp
  7. http://www.hse.gov.uk/catering/index.htm

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