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25 February 2019 Hotels in Asia ignore basic health and safety checks

posted 26 Feb 2019, 04:22 by Ian Clarenbone

Legionnaires’ disease is a powerful pathogen that can easily spread through the air conditioning system.

Citing insufficient manpower and low budgets, hotel operators are guilty of negligence of the most basic health and safety checks in their hotel air conditioning units. From hotel owners to senior engineers there is little enthusiasm or willpower to act responsibly. 

Not enough is being done to clean and sanitize air conditioning equipment. Annual cleaning is a minimum. Inspections by outside engineers have found black mould and dangerous bacteria in Asia’s hotels some showing signs of not being cleaned in decades. Air quality is compromised. Spores and microscopic pathogens like Legionnaires’ disease –known killers – go unchecked.

Hotel operators have failed to act and there is evidence that some local operators ignore public safety. Even top-level management at head offices fail to act to deal with air quality issues that are known to cause illness, preferring to ignore the problem rather than tackle it head-on.

The problems have been well documented by shocked engineers specializing in air handling equipment. Hotel operators in Asia continue to ignore the warning signs. Guests health and safety is often compromised.

Experts described this inactivity by hotel operators as a scandal, hotel operators are unwilling to admit that a problem exists. It’s considered nonessential work and is only paid lip-service.

The air we breathe contains millions of microscopic organisms. The vast majority are harmless, however, given the right conditions of moisture and heat they can turn nasty. Black mould can develop and responsible engineers have ways to tackle the problem. Today this can be done without the use of hazardous chemicals like acids that produce dangerous fumes and damage equipment.

Turning a blind eye to public safety is not new in Asia. There is little enforcement. Too few resources and its low priority status means that inspections are few and far between.

And it’s not just Asia. As recently as 2015 a spectacular failure in a New York hotel led to 10 people’s death in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. More than 100 people were hospitalized. A stark warning to hotels in Asia where the dangers are so often ignored and there are fewer inspections.