Hospitality and tourism module

Have you read the General module, completed the test and printed your safe@work General Award of Attainment?

The Hospitality and Tourism module should be done after the General module.

If it is some time since you have completed the General module you should read the Review module. The test for this module contains some questions based on the Review module.

Within this industry you may be involved in a range of work activities, such as food preparation, cooking, bed making, cleaning, food and beverage service, operating office equipment or working with a tour guide.

The hospitality and tourism industry employs a large number of casual and young employees. The work can be hectic and demanding, and statistics show there are a high number of injuries in this industry.

Most of these injuries can be prevented through training and supervision. Your employer must provide ongoing information, instruction, training and supervision.

You must also follow work instructions safely and not put others at risk.

Print a PDF version of the Hospitality and Tourism Module (pdf - 136.94kb).

Manual handling

Bed making, vacuuming, carrying trays, placing boxes and other items on shelves, cleaning, handling laundry trolleys and loading and unloading washing machines are some examples of manual handling tasks in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Your employer must assess and control manual handling tasks. This includes doing things like:

  • reorganising work tasks to reduce the manual handling involved
  • providing mechanical lifting devices, such as trolleys and hoists
  • making sure employees do not work long hours without a break
  • making sure the work place layout allows employees enough space to move and work safely.

You must follow safe working procedures for manual handling, and speak to your supervisor if you are unsure about how to perform a manual handling task safely.

Slips, trips and falls

Muscle strains and falls, trips and slips are the most common injuries in the hospitality industry.

Slips are the main cause of accidents in kitchens. Floors can become slippery when liquids, grease, food, or other substances are spilt on them, or while being washed. Floors should be cleaned regularly so that oil, fat and other spills do not create an uneven surface that could cause a fall or serious burn. The use of incorrect cleaning products can destroy the non-slip properties and may cause sheet flooring such as vinyl or lino to lift at the seams.

Employers must make sure floors are slip resistant in kitchens, serveries and dining areas.

Objects such as boxes, cartons, bins, and furniture left where people are moving around can also be hazardous. You could trip, stumble or bump into something, resulting in an injury, or objects could fall on you or others.

It is important that you wear appropriate shoes for the work task and the type of floor surface. It may be necessary to wear rubber-soled shoes for some surfaces (like wet tiles) to reduce the risk of slipping.

It is also important that you check the condition of your shoes. Often, accidents happen because there is no tread left on the bottom of shoes, or because the shoes are not suitable for the work tasks.

Machinery and equipment

Note: Students on work experience must not use knives or powered cutting equipment. This information is designed to give students an understanding of the hazard and some of its risk control measures.

Many types of machinery and equipment are used in the hospitality and tourism industry. Examples of machinery and equipment include:

  • slicers
  • mincers
  • patty forming machines
  • meat tenderisers
  • pie and tart machines
  • general mixers
  • slicing, grating and chipping mixers
  • food processors
  • dough machines
  • wrapping and packing machines
  • floor polishers
  • pressure washers
  • steam cleaners or hoses
  • vacuum cleaners
  • washing machines and dryers
  • tile scrubbers

Mechanical equipment can cause sprains and strains, open wounds, fractures, amputations; and even death. The most common mechanical equipment injuries are to hands and fingers, which may be cut, sprained, dislocated, broken, crushed or severed by machinery and equipment.

Employers must train employees to correctly use machinery and equipment.

Guards are attached to many items of mechanical equipment and must be used to protect you from the moving parts of machines.

Machines must not be operated with the guards off.

The person cleaning the machine may have to remove the guards to uncover dangerous parts of the machine.

All pieces of equipment that sit on a worktop should be on a level surface, a secure base and positioned so that they cannot be knocked off. This is why many pieces of equipment are bolted to bench tops. Where castors are fitted, the brakes should be regularly checked to make sure that they are working properly.

It is important that you follow safe work practices and talk to your supervisor if you are unsure or have any concerns about operating machinery and equipment.


Most machines use electrical power. Damaged and frayed electrical cords attached to appliances such as fans, rice cookers, freezers and pie warmers are the cause of common electrical hazards in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Note: Students on work experience must not undertake any task which may place them at risk from electrical sources. This information is designed to give students an understanding of the hazard and some of its risk control measures.

Electrical leads must not be wrapped around appliances, and electrical boards should be secured on the wall to prevent the risk of stretching the leads and short circuiting the wires, causing a fire risk.

Your employer must make sure that equipment is in good working order and regularly checked.

If water leaks into electrical equipment it can cause electric shock or even electrocution unless precautions are taken. The risk is greater where pressure washers, steam cleaners or hoses are used.

Make sure electrical switchboards are not blocked. If there is an electrical fault, it may be important to be able to switch off an appliance at the power point quickly.

Hazardous substances and dangerous goods

The most common hazardous substances and dangerous goods in the hospitality and tourism industry are chemical cleaning agents. Cleaning agents such as detergents, cleaning fluids, polishes and air fresheners are used daily and can present risks to your health. You may need to wear gloves when handling some cleaning agents.

Do not put cleaning chemicals into other containers, such as milk or cool drink bottles. All containers for cleaning chemicals must be clearly labelled.

You must follow instructions for safe use of all hazardous substances and dangerous goods. Your employer should keep an up to-date Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each substance used at the work place. These could be collected and kept in a ring binder.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an inflammation that occurs when a substance comes into contact with skin. The skin is irritated and there is an abnormal (allergic) reaction. The skin may be red, swollen, tender, hot, painful or itchy. If the reaction is severe, the skin may blister or weep and can become cracked or crusty. Some employees who handle food have a higher risk of contact dermatitis as they wash their hands and clean dishes and equipment often. Cleaning fluids and detergents often contain chemicals that may cause irritations in some employees.

Different people will react differently to each substance, and some employees may have no reaction at all. Some substances will have an immediate and obvious effect on the skin. Other substances could be used regularly for a long time before the skin begins to react. After the first reaction occurs, dermatitis will develop fairly quickly each time there is contact with that substance.
As well as causing pain or discomfort, dermatitis can, in some cases, mean long periods away from work. At times the worker cannot go back and do the same work as they have become sensitised to the substance.

The most common way to reduce the risk of dermatitis is to wear protective gloves and barrier creams. Your employer should provide this sort of personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of contact dermatitis and you should use it.

Heat stress

Heat stress does not happen only when a person is working outside in the sun. In the hospitality and tourism industry, a person can suffer from heat stress from working in a hot work place - such as a laundry, kitchen, or boiler room.

The cooking process and the need to serve food hot often causes high temperatures and humidity in kitchens and serving areas, which can affect the health, comfort and efficiency of kitchen staff.

Extraction fans are the most common way to prevent heat and humidity. Additional extractor fans may be necessary, with air inlets situated to make sure there is air movement in the whole work area.

The effects of heat stress range from simple discomfort to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. Heat stress does make it difficult to concentrate on the job, which can also be hazardous. Signs of heat stress include tiredness, irritability, inattention and muscular cramps.

Ways to reduce risk

  • make sure you drink lots of water, juices or soft drinks
  • take rest breaks in a cool place
  • wear appropriate clothing, including a hat if working outdoors.

If you still feel any of the signs of heat stress after drinking enough fluids, report it to your supervisor or first aid officer.

If you believe someone may be suffering the effects of heat stress, rest them in a cool, airy area and give them cool, rather than cold fluids. Report it immediately to your supervisor or first aid officer.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is not common. A person suffering from heat stroke will stop sweating and body temperature will be high. Skin will be hot and dry. Confusion and loss of consciousness may occur.

Heat stroke is life threatening, and urgent treatment by a doctor is very important. While waiting for medical help to arrive, cool the patient as quickly as possible. Soaking the person's clothes with cold water and increasing air movement by fanning can do this. If the person is conscious, give water to drink.

Burns and cuts

Burns and cuts are serious hazards in the hospitality and tourism industry.


Burns can be caused by:

  • steam, irons and hot water in the laundry and kitchen
  • hot fat and oils, hot stoves, food trays in the kitchen
  • chemicals used for cleaning surfaces and equipment, and for gardening jobs.

Ways to reduce the risk of burns:

  • Your employer must have safe methods of work for working near steam, hot surfaces or hot substances and for using corrosive cleaning chemicals
  • You must be properly trained and supervised
  • Take extra care when working with hot substances
  • All appliances must be turned off at the power supply before cleaning. The gas supply must be turned off if the equipment operates on gas, including pilot lights. All heating equipment should be allowed to cool off before cleaning starts.

First aid for burns

If a burn occurs, first aid treatment is very important. You must place the affected areas of the person's body under cool, running water as soon as possible. Do not remove any of the person's clothing. This makes the burn much worse.


Sharp tools such as scissors, knives and appliances for cutting and shredding can cause cuts.

Ways to reduce the risk of cuts:

  • Keep cutting tools clean and sharp
  • Use appliances and tools only for the purpose for which they are designed
  • Keep all guards in place, and keep your fingers and body away from any moving parts.

Cash handling and opening and closing procedures

Cash handling

In a work place where cash is handled, you are more likely to face the threat of robbery or attack.

To reduce the risk of injury or harm, employers should have cash handling procedures and must train you in these procedures.

Procedures should cover:

  • removal of excess cash from the till to safe storage
  • displaying signs where they can be clearly seen informing customers of limited cash holdings
  • not handling cash in front of customers
  • delivery and deposit of money at the bank.

Opening and closing procedures

Your employer should have simple written procedures for opening and closing the work place. This is important if it is isolated, or if you have to open and close it when the employer or other employees are not around. It is safer if more than one person opens or closes the premises.

Procedures should cover checking to make sure:

  • there are no suspicious people or vehicles around when you enter or leave the work place
  • no one has broken in - if there are signs of a break-in, you must know what action to take
  • before leaving, that the safe (if there is one) and all entries, exits and windows are securely locked, and
  • there are no unauthorised persons remaining on the premises.

You should be made aware of procedures for handling cash and opening and closing and you should follow them.

Multiple choice questions

You may now try the multiple choice test. See your teacher for a copy and full instructions. There are 16 questions. If you get 12 or more correct you are entitled to an Award of Attainment. The Principal of your school will sign the Award and validate it with the school stamp.