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Concerns for Safety and Security in Housekeeping Operations

The body of knowledge that is now becoming of
major concern to those involved in management of the
service professions is about safeguarding assets of an
organization. This is a responsibility for which all who
work within such organizations must take heed.
The American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS,
the national association for directors of security) has now
catalogued this body of knowledge into a resource that
forms the basis for educating, certifying, and training
not only directors of security groups but also those in
charge of other organizational departments.
It is to this end that environmental services directors
and hotel executive housekeepersmust become involved
in the analysis of risks being taken daily by their
companies (risk analysis) and in the management of
such risks (risk management) in such a way as to reduce
the threat to a company’s assets.
The Concept of Safeguarding

It is first necessary to understand what might be
recognized as ‘‘the assets’’ of a hospitality or health-care
organization, as listed in the following table.
Human                Physical                                 Intrinsic
Guests                Land                                     Goodwill
Patients              The facility                             Reputation
Employees         Equipment
                        Accounts receivable
The concept of security in hospitality operations has
many times been addressed in tandem with that of
safety, even though the general thrust of each term
is somewhat different. The current trend today uses
the term safety in discussing matters such as disaster,
fire prevention, fire protection devices, and conditions
that provide for freedom from injury and damage to
property. Security, however, is used more as a means to
describe the need for freedom from fear, anxiety, and
doubt involving ourselves, as well as the protection and
defense against the loss or theft of guest, employee,
and company property. Both terms are, however, more
generally recognized as only parts of a greater whole.
There are now new terms in the lexicon, such as
protection and safeguarding of assets, threat analysis, security
surveys, risk analysis, and risk management. Hospitality
operations, large and small, are extremely vulnerable
to security hazards. The very nature of their operation,
which involves the presence of a wide diversity of people,
most of whom are unknown to the proprietor, poses a
considerable threat to the security of a property. Risks
of fire are also serious. The incidence of hotel fires
causing loss of life and serious damage to property
has increased in recent years. As a result of property
owners and managers being accountable for the safety
and protection of guests and employees, their property,
and the assets of the company, the status of security has
in many cases been elevated to the executive boardroom.
Not all hotels are of the 100-room variety. Many small
units (40 rooms) are operated by one or two persons in
one family. And, to the contrary, 1000-room units are
now being dwarfed by 5000+rooms, resorts, and casinos.
However, the small unit is confronted by the same threats
as the larger establishments, and wrongdoers are aware
that the small establishments do not have the same large,
complete security forces as do the giant properties.
Proprietors must also be aware of a much larger
volume of legal provisions than would apply to the owner
of a private home. They have direct responsibility for the
safety and well-being of their guests, and part of this
responsibility is compliance with such laws as are in
effect respecting the operations of public enterprises.

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