On August 27, 2019, the Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance providing protections for hotel workers. One of the items of the ordinance was that workers be issued with personal safety devices.
Research into Lone Worker Vulnerability
The ordinance was recommended by the City’s Commission on the Status of Women in a letter to the Council in September 2018 and offers protection for Santa Monica’s 2,100 hotel housekeepers.¹
“Everyone deserves to come to work feeling safe and protected, and this ordinance provides that assurance,” said Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis.²
The adoption of the ordinance comes after months of research, analysis and engagement with various local stakeholders. City staff also consulted with multiple cities with similar ordinances to learn about their experiences in implementation and enforcement including Long Beach, Oakland, and Seattle.³
New hotel lone worker legislation in Santa Monica
Chapter 4.67 Hotel Worker Protection, which includes item 4.67.020 Measures to protect hotel workers from violent or threatening conduct, went into effect on January 1st, 2020.
This ordinance requires all Santa Monica hotels, regardless of the number of rooms, to provide a personal security device to each hotel worker assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility where other hotel employees are not present. The personal security device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel worker. ⁴
All hotel workers must be trained on the use and maintenance of the personal security devices and the hotel’s protocol for responding to calls from these devices by January 1, 2020, or within one month of hire thereafter.⁵
A hotel employer shall assign a security guard, manager or supervisory hotel staff member to provide immediate on-scene assistance in the event that a personal security device is activated. ⁶
Hotel owners are also required to put signage on the back of every entrance door to guest rooms and restroom facilities stating, “The Law Protects Hotel Workers From Threatening Behaviour,”. ⁷ It must also provide a citation of Chapter 4.67 Hotel Worker Protection of the Santa Monica Municipal Code and notify guests that the hotel employer provides personal security devices to its employees.
Personal security devices and safety solutions
There are many personnel security devices and lone worker solutions available that hotel owners can choose from to keep their lone workers safe. None are as simple and easy to use as a Smartphone app, like Ok Alone, the lone worker safety solution from Trusty Ox Systems.
Keeping in line with Chapter 4.67 Hotel Worker Protection ordinance, Ok Alone’s lone worker safety app runs on a worker’s smart phone, so no need to buy additional devices. The app allows workers to check in at regular intervals or request help if they need it. The ‘Help Button’ sends an alert to their assigned security guard, manager or supervisor that they need immediate assistance and need to be contacted. This help button can be pushed manually or triggered using voice commands. The system has GPS capabilities that can locate a worker if they activate the ‘help’ alert.
Features of Ok Alone for Hotel Worker Protection
Ok Alone also has features that allow lone workers to contact their supervisors directly. Workers have the option of sending a written or voice message directly to the person monitoring their safety.
Workers have the ability to change the frequency of their check ins with the ‘high-risk’ feature. If a worker enters an area where they feel vulnerable, such as delivering food to a large group, they can reduce the check in time to as little as 10 minutes. After the time has passed with no alerts, the check in frequency will return to the original count down duration.
The Ok Alone smartphone app works in conjunction with a website and dashboard that can be used on a pc, laptop, tablet or another smartphone. The online dashboard will display a map supplying the monitor with the workers last known location and their contact number if an alert is triggered. This will allow help to be sent to the correct location at a moment’s notice.