Hospitality 2014: Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown London

Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown London is the gold winner in the hospitality category for the 2014 Canada's Safest Employers Awards
The Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown London takes a proactive approach that encourages employees to voice safety concerns, says general manager Anna McNutt.

While the hotel’s daily morning huddles follow a template that regularly integrates health and safety topics, employees are urged to share these concerns at any time.

“We have an open door policy. We actually encourage our staff to bring issues up that require immediate repair or initiatives that require immediate attention. For us, that’s a big plus,” says Tony D’Ariano, maintenance manager and health and safety chair at the hotel in London, Ont.


The meetings have built confidence in the team and employees are not afraid to ask questions, says McNutt. For example, one of the most successful initiatives stemmed from one of the daily meetings when workers voiced concerns over broken or missing vacuum cleaners.

Now, “they’re inspected and they’re stored and there are extra parts on the property, so they’re there and we haven’t had a problem since. Nobody has a frayed cord, everything comes down and it’s looked at on a daily basis,” McNutt explains.

The hotel’s joint health and safety committee is inclusive of all employees, who are encouraged and paid to attend the lunch hour meetings. This total buy-in from the team of 40 is instrumental in yielding better health and safety results, says McNutt.

“Everybody feels involved and knowledge is power, so it empowers the employees to get involved, and you have to feel more comfortable to speak up. And it has made a difference, because they’re in tune with it on a daily basis.”

In addition to providing staff with lunch-and-learns as well as health and safety networking opportunities, the hotel has added a safety scavenger hunt to its new hire orientation.

Although it has successfully achieved a number of safety goals, both through its own initiatives and as a result of joining Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Safety Group program, the hotel looks at five new health and safety elements each year.

“For this year, we have 20 safety elements that we’re working on. Five new and the 15 we had previously done, in addition to what we had in place. So it’s become almost like a full-time job,” says McNutt.