During the 2012, 57 million UK citizens travelled abroad; this is a huge number. When traveling overseas it is important to give some thought to your safety and well-being. It is a fact that of all the illnesses you could suffer from whilst on holiday, 75% will be food related. However with good practices in place these risks can be reduced significantly. Check Safety First Ltd. uses Cristal HACCP consultants to apply standards to listed hotels as required and developed by the Cristal Program.
The Cristal risk management program was specifically developed for the travel and tourism industry. It covers high-level standards, which comply with international and national regulations. Also, it incorporates best practice and recommendations, which often requires an even higher level than many national and international regulations.
These standards and their compliance are then monitored and audited at the hotel site, through competent Cristal auditors on a regular basis. We help the hotel to manage all aspects of risk management including food safety, swimming pool safety, fire safety and water safety.
Auditing procedures include questionnaires such as the food hygiene and safety module which has more than 250 checkpoints, making the endorsement system very demanding. This auditing system allows us to assess from a quantitative point of view the degree of compliance of the risk management program, and develop a plan of action for the facility to ensure the lowest level of risk.
When a facility shows a consistent high level of risk management practices, then it is published on this Check Safety First list of hotels. You can take some confidence from the fact that a UK based business has monitored these hotels. Nowhere is ever completely safe but hotels listed on checksafetyfirst.com are putting you at a lower risk from contracting food borne illnesses or suffering from incident or injury.
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"People have a right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption" - World Health Organisation
The CRISTAL Food Safety System assists hotels in producing safe and hygienic food for consumption by guests. The Cristal system is based on the recognised method of hygiene management as known as HACCP, which was first developed to ensure completely safe food operations in the early NASA space programmes. Today this process is recommended by the World Health Organisation and Governments worldwide to ensure safe food hygiene. It operates by identifying each operational stage in the food process that needs to be monitored and controlled, in order to reduce the risk of food contamination which could result in eventual food poisoning. The system makes certain that all possible care has been taken to ensure that the food served in hotel restaurants is of the highest quality as regards food hygiene.
The Cristal System is designed to reduce the risk of Legionnaires Disease. Because most water facilities are of different sizes / structures and the complexity of water storage and handling methods vary considerably, this system is by definition a general one, with the objective of offering general advice coupled with specific recommendations and measurements on preventing the proliferation of Legionella bacterium.
This advice is a compilation of best practice and specific recommendations made by scientific and public health bodies world-wide. It is recognised that it is very important to ensure the proper installation and maintenance of the water systems. Accurate records of maintenance work undertaken, temperatures and disinfection levels are be kept, and verified, as they will be requires as legal evidence should a case of Legionnaires disease occur in a guest.
One of the most frequently used locations in leisure facilities is the swimming area. This area is used by 98% of guests during their stay. It is therefore critical to guests' health to ensure that the water used in the swimming pools is of an acceptable standard and free from known contaminants; and that this acceptable standard is constantly maintained. The Cristal System ensures that the following regulations are followed:
Water used in pools must be chlorinated (or an equivalent disinfection medium used), filtered, with no visible foreign bodies in pool water. Water used in pools is periodically analysed for known contaminants, and that Pool, plant and equipment must be clean and in good working order. The clarity of the water must be sufficient to ensure that the bottom of the pool floor is clearly visible at all times and the water free from residues such as sun tan lotion etc., which may hamper guests' vision and be an irritant All water quality deficiencies are corrected immediately and accurate records of pool water treatment and water testing must be kept.
The RoomCheck Standard allows hotels to monitor the effectiveness of their room cleaning operations against an international benchmark. In addition to measuring and evaluating the house keeping performance, it also has huge positive health implications as hotel guest bedrooms with poor hygiene standards pose specific health risks (e.g. Mould, bed bugs) and are also a route for transmission of infections (e.g. staphylococcus aureus, E. Coli, Norovirus).
RoomCheck uses a thorough auditing protocol combined with state of the art technology to determine cleanliness of hotel rooms beyond the visible indicators that are normally focused on. Technology now enables us to look at the microbiological level of cleanliness that you should expect from your hotel.
Whilst being one of the most unlikely things to effect you when on holiday an uncontrolled fire has the potential to injure or kill large numbers of people very quickly. This is not meant to scare you but to give you some persepective as to why fire safety arrangements are so important even though the number of fires you hear about are quite small.
The e-Cristal Fire Safety module is designed to ensure that the hotel or accommodation you stay at have taken every necessary precaution to both prevent fires from starting and also to minimise their effect should they occur. Controls such as fire-detection and fire-fighting equipment are addressed along with more fundamental aspects of emergency procedures and staff training.
The process we follow is based around understanding the specific requirements of the hotel based on risk and then helping them to create a system that ensures your safety. This co-operative approach is complimented by a schedule of regular audits to make sure that every aspect of the system is working effectively.
Environmental and ethical considerations have become more and more a part of our everyday life. Not only do we recycle waste and buy energy efficient light bulbs we also make purchasing decisions on the basis of the environmental or ethical credentials of the product or supplier. This is also now true of the holiday industry with an ever increasing number of holiday makers choosing 'Green' holidays.
The e-Cristal Green Hotel module is designed to work with hotels to develop new or enhance existing environmental or ethical systems and practices to ensure that they represent a sustainable option for the considerate holiday maker. The module looks at the environmental and ethical impacts of the hotel and its operation and helps in the development of systems, policies and procedures to reduce the negative impact whilst also encouraging positive effects of tourism on the local community.
Aspects of global significance such as reductions in energy consumption and therefore CO2 production have both an environmental and economic benefit. Whilst improvements in worker conditions and increased community involvement have a positive return to the hotel as staff turnover reduces and efficiency increases. An example of another area covered is the use of new technology such as solar or wind powered energy generation.
Hurricanes are tropical cyclones that produce wind speeds ranging between 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour at Category 1 to in excess of 155 miles (249 kilometers) per hour at Category 5. Even at the lower categories the devastation and disruption caused is extensive. As this phenomenon is usually restricted to certain hurricane areas and during certain seasons some of us have never experienced this at first hand before.
The e-Cristal Hurricane Preparedness module is designed to ensure that those hotels or accommodation that are at risk have taken every necessary precaution to ensure that when a hurricane does strike they, and you, suffer the minimum disruption possible. When it happens a hurricane can wreak havoc even to a well prepared hotel, but recent experience in places such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic show that those that were prepared could resume normal activity far faster than those with no formal arrangements.
The module helps the hotel develop the appropriate plans and procedures, along with contingency arrangements such as emergency supplies and designated recovery locations that are vital to continued operation.
Accidents do happen when you are on holiday, however the e-Cristal General Safety module is designed to ensure that anything that could be prevented is not going to turn your holiday from being a dream to a nightmare.
The e-Cristal General Safety module applies a process of risk assessment to ensure that aspects such as balconies, glazing, the conditions of rooms and of the hotel itself does not cause injury or death where this could be reasonably prevented.
The hotel is regularly audited to ensure that the main risk areas are controlled and that all of the management systems and procedures are operating effectively.