As you’re probably aware, any of the four main enforcement authorities – Fire, Food, Health and Safety and Trading Standards – can turn up at your hotel at any time to conduct an inspection. While you might think you’re on top of things, how would your hotel business fare at an unannounced spot check?
Do you approach each day of your operations as if they might turn up? Would your duty manager be able to point the inspectors in the direction of your company food and health and safety policy? Are you confident any team member could give a good account of themselves if questioned by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) about safe systems of work relevant to their tasks? Could your chef explain to the EHO the measures in place to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls in the kitchen and confidently demonstrate that your HACCP controls are fully implemented?
If you’re hesitating over any of these questions, it might be time to think about an audit to ensure you’re compliant with current legislation and to pinpoint any potential gaps in your food, fire and health and safety processes.
Through Navitas Consultancy we’ve been conducting audits since 1998 for clients ranging from owner operated single hotels and restaurants to multi-national companies. From our headquarters in the Midlands we provide support services for clients throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.
One of those clients is Michel’s & Taylor, a hotel management group we’ve been working with for more than six years, as Managing Director Peter Hales explains. “M&T Hotel Management has worked closely with the team at Navitas on the development of all our policies, the auditing of our hotels and with the development of their online management and due diligence system. Navitas has also worked with us onboarding new hotels to the group. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Navitas to hoteliers that want a commercial and supportive approach to health and safety matters.”
So what exactly does an audit involve? It’s essentially an in-depth fact find at your premises usually lasting one or two days, depending on the size of the property. During that time we’ll verify that your food safety, fire safety and health and safety practices comply with your policies and current legislation, as well as advise you of current best practice. This includes ensuring the correct application of HACCP.
We review current health and safety practice ensuring that the principles of risk assessment are used to promote safe systems of work and review your fire safety arrangements too.
The results of the audit are then used to create an interactive action plan. This contains prioritised corrective actions for the hotel management team to address and sign off. Where the audit identifies knowledge gaps amongst staff members, our Navitas Academy offers training programmes on food safety, fire safety, health and safety and first aid to support a client’s needs and ensure continuous improvement. The audit findings can also be used to update company compliance policies.
Investing in a compliance audit enables you to verify your food operation, identify areas of improvement and ensure that you’re producing safe food in a safe environment at all times. Having achieved this, you can confidently welcome your local enforcement authorities at any time.
By Bob Mackay, technical director with Navitas Group