Safety makes cents to Grand Hyatt employees

PO‘IPU — Safety in the workplace at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Po‘ipu has been enhanced through the active participation of the hundreds of employees here, resort leaders said.

Joseph Schoniwitz, the Grand Hyatt’s director of security and safety, said, “You can tell them about statistics and numbers, but they quickly forget those. But, by getting them actively involved, it means something to them.” Schoniwitz, the safety leader for the past two years at the Po‘ipu resort, said that, last year, resort owners and operators saved an estimated $500,000 from their projected-losses amount because of the safety practices engaged in by the employees.

“For an operation of this size, that amount is huge,” he said.

“But, the numbers don’t mean that much to the employees. They care about not getting hurt,” he continued.

Schoniwitz explained that, during the last 24 months, resort leaders have gotten employees actively involved in safety.

“We’ve always had posters on safety (like other business establishments),” Schoniwitz said. “But, now, there’s been a second safety display added.” That display mimics information found on the previous display, but adds a board where names of employees who “win” a safety premium are posted.

“Anyone who doesn’t have an accident is entered into a monthly drawing for premiums that include a $200 certificate, a pool pass where they can bring their family on property, and a special parking space,” he explained.

“When you have 800 to 900 employees, parking is always at a premium, and the parking space is the most-coveted prize.” Schoniwitz said the programs were put into place after resort leaders worked with consultants from Honolulu and Seattle.

A trial run of the “Good for Me” program started in housekeeping, considered one of the resort’s high-risk areas.

Claire Morris Dobie, the resort’s community relations director, explained that the high-risk designation comes from the sheer number of employees involved in the area.

Some of these other high-risk departments within the Grand Hyatt include engineering, culinary, banquet, and laundry, and employees there are all part of the ongoing safety program.

As Schoniwitz pointed out the employees’ positive response to the “Good for Me” program, he noted that safety patrols would be taking place shortly, so members of each department know where they stand in relation to those in other departments.

But, the final driving point behind their safety-consciousness lies in the fact that managers understand that employees spend a third of their working days at the resort.

“Employees spend one third of their day at work,” Schoniwitz said.

“We want them to have an enjoyable and safe experience so it doesn’t jeopardize the other two thirds of their day. We want them to be able to enjoy life.”

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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