In November of 2018, Oakland voters passed Measure Z, an amendment to the Oakland Municipal Code (OMC), establishing workplace protections for hotel workers. Oakland’s Hotel Workers Protection & Employments Standards Ordinance has been added to the OMC as Chapter 5.93, titled “Hotel Minimum Wage and Working Conditions.” This came into effect on December 23, 2018.
Legislation for Lone workers in Oakland hotels
Hotel employees who work by themselves are extremely vulnerable to crimes and other threatening behaviour. Chapter 5.93, section 5.93.020 – Measures to Protect Hotel Employees from Threatening Behaviour, enables hotel workers to be protected by requiring hotel employers to provide panic buttons to workers who work alone with guests. ¹
The ordinance requires Oakland hotels with 50 or more guest rooms or suites of rooms ² to provide employees who work alone in guest rooms with a panic button to report an ongoing crime, threat or other emergency.
A “Hotel Employee” is any individual who was hired to or did work an average of 5 hours per week for 4 weeks. ³ This requirement applies regardless of the employee’s position or title and may include employees who provide housekeeping services, room service, in-room spa services, deliveries or any employee assigned to work in a guest room or bathroom without other employees present. ⁴
The panic button needs to be provided by the hotel employer, at no cost to the hotel employee.
What is a lone worker panic button?
“Panic button” means an emergency contact device carried by the hotel employee which allows him or her to alert someone ese in the event of an ongoing threat. ⁵
The panic button must alert someone who is responsible for providing immediate on-scene assistance. This can be a security guard, supervisor, manager or another employee. The employer must ensure there is always at least one person on site who has been designated and is able to respond immediately to a panic button alert. In addition to designating primary responders, the City recommends that hotel employers designate back-up responders to cover this duty in the event the primary responder is on break, at lunch, fails to monitor their alerts or is otherwise unavailable. ⁶
Panic button safety solutions
There are many panic buttons and lone worker solutions available for Oakland hotel owners to purchase to keep their lone workers safe. One such solution is Ok Alone, the lone worker safety solution from Trusty Ox Systems.
Ok Alone’s lone worker safety app runs on a worker’s smart phone and allows them to check in at regular intervals or request help if they need it. The ‘Help Button’ sends an alert to another employee or assigned security guard letting them know that they need immediate assistance and need to be contacted. This 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.
Using the app, another employee or security guard responsible for providing immediate on-scene assistance, will be notified if a worker requests help, keeping in line with Chapter 5.93, section 5.93.020 – Measures to Protect Hotel Employees from Threatening Behaviour.
Ok Alone’s Safety Features
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 people monitoring their safety.
Workers are able to change the frequency of their check ins with the ‘high-risk’ feature. If a worker enters an area where they feel vulnerable, possibly while offering in-room spa treatments, 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 if an alert is triggered. This will allow help to be sent to the correct location when it is really needed.
4 – https://www.oaklandcityattorney.org/PDFS/Guides%20and%20FAQs/FAQ%20regarding%20Oakland%E2%80%99s%20Hotel%20Workers%20Protection%20and%20Employments%20Standards%20Ordinance%20JULY%202019%20FINAL.pdf
6 – https://www.oaklandcityattorney.org/PDFS/Guides%20and%20FAQs/FAQ%20regarding%20Oakland%E2%80%99s%20Hotel%20Workers%20Protection%20and%20Employments%20Standards%20Ordinance%20JULY%202019%20FINAL.pdf