In February of 2018, the Sacramento County’s Board of Supervisors passed and adopted an ordinance requiring hotels to provide lone workers with panic buttons. The Ordinance applied to the wider county, but not to the City of Sacramento itself. The City of Sacramento adopted its own hotel worker protection ordinance in January of 2020.
Sacramento County Legislation
On February 6th 2018, Sacramento County passed an ordinance requiring hotel and motel operators in the unincorporated County to provide employees with a panic button or notification device which can be used to call for help. This ordinance did not apply to hotels within the City of Sacramento. ¹
Three weeks later on February 27th, the Sacramento County’s Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance requiring hotels with 25 or more guest rooms located in the unincorporated area of Sacramento County to adopt a series of policies designed to protect hotel workers from sexual assault and harassment. ²
As the ordinance only applied to hotels and motels with 25 or more rooms outside the city limits it incorporated an estimated 24 or approximately seventy-five percent of the County’s existing licensed hotels and motels. ³
Once it had been adopted it became SCC 1620 the Sacramento County Hotel Worker Protection Act of 2018 with ordinance Chapter 4.75, Title 4 of the Sacramento County Code Requiring Hotel Employee Panic Buttons and Hotel Guest Sexual Harassment Policies. ⁴
What is a lone worker panic button?
Chapter 4.75.003 requires every hotel licensee to equip every employee who is assigned to work in a guest room or restroom with a panic button or notification device.
They have defined “Panic button” as,
‘a portable emergency contact device that is designed so that an employee can quickly or easily activate such button or device to summon to the employee’s location prompt assistance by hotel staff that are able to provide immediate aid and assistance such as a hotel security officer or manager.’ ⁵
Panic buttons and notification devices shall be provided by the hotel licensee at no cost to the employee.
Sacramento City Local Ordinance
The city of Sacramento soon developed their own ordinance to fill the gap left by Sacramento County’s SCC 1620 – the policy that covered hotels across Sacramento County but not those within the city limits.
The Sacramento City Code adopted Chapter 5.78 HOTEL WORKER PROTECTION on January 14th 2020.
The local ordinance now applies to approximately 80 hotels and motels operating within the City of Sacramento with 25 or more rooms, which currently is estimated at 60 or approximately 75 percent of the City’s existing licensed hotels and motels. ⁶
Employers are required to provide panic buttons to any “Employee” who works full- or part-time at a hotel for wages, salary, or remuneration of any type within any room made available by a hotel for overnight occupancy by guests or restroom. ⁷
The panic button must be a portable device that an employee can quickly and easily activate to summon to the employee’s location hotel staff who are able to provide immediate aid and assistance. The operator of the hotel shall provide the panic button at no cost to the employee. ⁸
Any person who violates a provision of this chapter is liable for civil penalties of not less than $250 or more than $25,000 for each day the violation continues. ⁹
Sacramento City’s hotel worker protection ordinance went into effect on July 14th, 2020.
Panic button safety solutions for lone workers
There are many panic buttons and lone worker solutions available for hotel workers that enable them to go about their day safely. 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 a hotel security officer or manager that the worker needs immediate assistance and needs to be contacted. This button can be pushed manually or triggered using voice commands. The lone worker solution has GPS capabilities that can locate a worker if they activate the ‘help’ alert.
Through the app, a supervisor, manager or security personnel, will be notified if a worker requests immediate assistance, making sure to keep in line with both the Sacramento County Hotel Worker Protection Act of 2018 and Chapter 5.78 Hotel Worker Protection ordinance.
Features of Ok Alone Safety Solution
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 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, such as delivering room service in the middle of the night, 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 at a moment’s notice.