Hoteliers Guide

hotelier holding white fresh towels in a clean hotel room

This guide is for hoteliers on the Isle of Wight.  We hope it will save you time, and make it easier for you to access information that can help you meet your legal requirements.

Health and safety

Every business needs to comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. If you employ five or more employees in your business you must produce a health and safety policy. Our health and safety starting up a business guidance can help you learn about policy, insurance, first aid, accident reporting, training, consultation and advice. It provides information and resources for you to understand the law and how to make sure you comply with it. 

The Health and safety Executive (HSE) also provides great guidance on the Health and safety basics for your business.

Risk assessment

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is carried out of the hazards in your workplace. The hazards being assessed have the potential to cause harm to employees, hotel guests and others who might be present on the premises. Guidance is provided by the HSE - Managing risks and risk assessment at work

Duty to manage asbestos

If you own or manage a hotel you have a duty to manage asbestos that may be present in the building. Read our guidance on asbestos.

Gas safety 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 requires that gas installations including appliances and pipe work are maintained in a safe condition. It is recommended that regular inspections are carried out by a ‘Gas Safe’ engineer.

Gas Safe Register provides details on what to do in a gas emergency.  For gas leaks and other emergencies call 0800 111 999.

Electrical safety 

Electrical installations should be tested regularly to reduce the risk of deterioration leading to danger. You should have your electrical installation inspected and tested by a competent person. For example a member of the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) or the National Institute Contractors for Electrical Inspection Council (NICEIC).

You should seek and follow advice from your contractor over the frequency and extent of the testing and inspecting. Guidance from contractors associations states that testing should be carried out in holiday accommodation every 5 years and in swimming pools/spas every year.     

Your arrangements for electrical safety should include the testing of portable appliances. This includes kettles, lamps and televisions provided for the benefit of guests. Further guidance is provided in the HSE leaflet ‘Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment in low-risk environments.

Swimming pools and spas

There are no swimming pool or spa specific health and safety laws. However, swimming pool operators must comply with their general duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the associated regulations. Operators must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the health and safety risks to workers and users to help decide what they must do to make their pool safe. This is known as risk assessment.

The law does not state what safety measures an operator must put in place. Such judgements must be made by each operator, based on the particular risks in their pool.

Read our swimming pools and water safety guidance. This gives you advice on how to manage swimming pools to avoid accidents and ill health, and to comply with the law.

More information on the law, your duties as a swimming pool operator and conducting a risk assessment are provided by the HSE -  Health and safety in swimming pools - HSG179

Legionella control

Hotels usually provide a large number of showers, swimming pools and spas. For these reasons you need to make sure your risk assessment considers the risk from legionella bacteria. These bacteria can grow in water tanks and pipe work in buildings if water is not stored and distributed correctly. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by inhaling fine droplets of water infected with the legionella bacteria.

The risk is usually controlled by ensuring that hot and cold water are stored at the correct temperatures in covered tanks and by the regular disinfection and descaling of shower heads. Further guidance is provided by HSE - Legionnaires' disease - What you must do.

Work at height

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to all work at height, where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. You should consider all work practices in your risk assessment that might involve work at height. For example cleaning, especially window cleaning and maintenance operations. The use of a ladder can only be justified for low risk operations where the works are of short duration or the existing features of the site cannot be altered.

In arranging for any works to be carried out by contractors you must ensure they are using appropriate safe working practices. You must not choose a contractor who is cheaper because they are not using appropriate methods.

More guidance can be found in the HSE Working at height: A brief guide or the HSE Introduction to working at height safely.

Falls from height

 As a hotelier you may have vulnerable occupants, for example children staying with you. Your risk assessment should consider possible falls from height from windows, down stairs etc. Where the risk exists, it is recommended that window restrictors are fitted limiting window openings to 100mm on all openings above ground floor level.

More guidance is provided by the HSE Risk of falling from windows and HSE Reducing the risk of falls on stairs.

Fire safety

Guidance for the hospitality industry, for owners of bed and breakfasts, guest houses and self catering properties about making your premises safe from fire - GOV.UK


Smoking isn’t allowed in any enclosed workplace, public building or on public transport in the UK. Read the guidance Smoking at work: the law - GOV.UK 

Food safety

If you supply food regularly, or you are starting a food business you must register your business with our Environmental Health department. You need to register at least 28 days before opening. Registration is free.

We provide a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. This scheme helps customer make informed choices about where to choose to eat out or shop for food.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides guidance for new food businesses, including what you need to know about starting up, as well as food safety and labelling law. They also have a great guide for running a food business.

We have created guidance on food allergens and food labelling to help you.

Reporting illness

If you become aware of any incidents of vomiting and diarrhoea at your establishment, you must report this directly to the Environmental Health Team. The team will need to investigate to ensure this is not food poisoning or another infectious disease.

Our guidance about food poisoning provides you with an online form to report any incidents.

It is not always possible for a business (in particular accommodation providers) to prevent infections coming into the premises. It is important to be prepared, and swift action is essential to prevent and minimise the number of cases/outbreak. 

Norovirus is a virus and is the most common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting in England and Wales. It is often referred to as the 'winter vomiting bug' due to its seasonality and typical symptoms. The disease is more prominent during the winter months, but infections can occur at any time of the year. The illness is generally mild and people usually recover within 2 to 3 days. Any case needs to be promptly reported. The UK Health security agency guidance on How to stop norovirus spreading provides helpful information. 

We have produced the guidance on reporting accidents and ill health, to help you meet the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).  

Pest control

Pest control and pest minimisation are essential to reducing risks to public health or food safety. Hoteliers have a responsibility to make sure the adequate procedures are in place to control pests. If any infestations are found these need to be treated immediately. Use the Isle of Wight Trader Approval scheme to find a reliable pest control agency. 

Bedbugs are small insects that feed on human blood, usually at night that often live on furniture or bedding. They do not carry disease or usually cause other health problems, but the bites can be irritating.

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

What do I need to do as an employer?

As an employer you should:

  • Have bed bugs included as a part of your pest control procedures. This should document your control measures and have information on what to do if you experience an infestation.
  • Ensure high standards of hygiene and housekeeping are kept so that the presence of bed bugs is revealed at an early stage.
  • Make sure staff are trained in noticing and monitoring the signs of bed bugs and keep training records to demonstrate this.
  • Carry out regular checks for signs of bed bugs.
  • If an infestation is identified, full treatment of the furniture and room by a professional pest control company is advised to ensure a full and safe eradication.

We do not provide a pest control service, but our Environmental Health department can provide you with advice and information about pest control.

Further guidance can be found at the British Pest Control Association BPCA - bed bug guidance.

Waste collection

All businesses have waste duty of care. To help reduce pests please make sure you use the correct waste service. You can apply online for a commercial waste collection.


The Licensing Act 2003 provides a single scheme for licensing premises. You need to get a licence:

View all of our Licensing services

Trading Standards guidelines

Our training standards services provide information and support to businesses to help them to trade fairly and protect consumer rights. 

Business rates

Non-domestic rates (NNDR), commonly known as business rates are collected by all local authorities from businesses in their area. The business rates collected contribute towards the cost of local services. We have a business rates section which provides lots of information, including how to pay your business rates

If you have purchased a hotel and it is currently empty you may be eligible for business rates relief.

Wight BID

Wight BID is the Business Improvement District (or BID) for tourism businesses on the Isle of Wight. Learn more about Wight BID, the payment process and our recovery action process for the Wight Bid levy.