On July 1, 2018, the “Hands Off, Pants On” law went into effect in Chicago.
The law requires hotel employers to provide a “panic button” to housekeepers and other workers who enter guest rooms. Using one of these buttons enables a worker to instantly broadcast a call for assistance from a security officer or other authority. Similar laws are already in effect in Seattle and New York, with support for legislation growing in California, Las Vegas and Miami Beach.
Panic buttons have grown in number and popularity across the country, at hotels and also at hospitals, schools and other organizations where workers are often vulnerable to harassment and other risk. The buttons typically come in the form of a key fob.
If a staff member feels unsafe at any time while at work, they can press the button to send an alert and request for immediate aid to management. The notification includes information, enabled by RFID technology, about their location. For hotels and other organizations, providing their staff with panic buttons does more than keep workers safe; it also demonstrates a higher level of concern and care.
The panic button fobs themselves are an investment – hotels must purchase them, sometimes in large numbers, to properly equip personnel. Because housekeeping staff follows a 24-hour schedule, it makes financial sense for the fobs to be shared among employees. This necessitates a way for hotel management to store unused panic buttons and to account for each one at all times.
Should one be misplaced, lost or inadvertently taken home by an employee, there may not be enough for the balance of the staff. Replacing panic button fobs can become extremely costly over time. And if one falls into the wrong hands, someone may use it as a “prank” to alert management, wasting resources and time and potentially distracting security staff from an actual incident.
A key control and management system is the best way to store, track and account for panic button fobs. Each fob can be locked safely in the cabinet, and only removed or replaced by the individual who is scheduled to use it at that time. All activity can be tracked, so management gets a clear picture of whether employees are adhering correctly to the program.
Some key management systems can even be customized to display screen messages in a second language, for hotels with a large number of staff for whom English is not a native language.
For hotels, hospitals, schools and other organizations who are considering panic buttons to help keep their staff secure while on the job, key control and management systems are the right choice to protect the panic buttons that protect their employees.
Learn more about the “Hands Off Pants On" ordinance here