Lone workers State laws Accommodations/food service

Washington L&I releases employer guidance on panic buttons for hotel workers

hotel maid
Photo: kadmy/iStockphoto

Tumwater, WA — The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has published guidance on a new state law intended to protect workers in the hospitality industry from sexual harassment and assault.

A provision of the law (RCW 49.60.515) requires hotel, motel and retail employers to provide a panic button to employees who may work alone, including housekeepers, room service attendants, janitors and certain security guards.

The two-page resource provides answers to questions about what types of emergency signaling devices are acceptable, who is responsible for the devices, their maintenance, and more.


Employers also are required to adopt an anti-sexual harassment policy and provide mandatory employee training to help prevent sexual assault, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

The law went into effect Jan. 1 for hotels and motels with more than 60 rooms, while all other covered employers must comply by Jan. 1, 2021.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)