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Health and Safety must be the top priority: a deadly gas leak in a hotel reminds us of this

The case of room 527 has resurfaced after almost ten years. A gas leak caused the tragic death of two guests within three days of each other at a hotel in Mallorca and this year the trial for wrongful death will take place. The cause? Death caused by carbon monoxide inhalation. This danger, as well as many others, should be as equally important as Covid-19 prevention in tourism. 

Room 527 was located on the top floor and accumulated twenty times more CO than permitted, leading to this tragedy. The room had two vents: One for ventilation and the other for the air conditioning. The problem was that they were too close together for the ventilation to be effective. This as well as the false pillar, covering the pipe from the boiler to the roof and which was in bad condition, caused this misadventure, which almost claimed a third victim. 

It is clear that there were anomalies which should have been identified a long time before. They were not corrected until an investigation found that the boiler was not working properly and for that reason, harmful gases exceeding regulations were emanating from it.  Additionally, relevant legal revisions and maintenance were not carried out. 

Safety is a responsibility that must take precedence over everything. Let us not forget that there are risks that should not be taken. After a year of pandemic, the tourism sector and the world at large, have realised more than ever how important health and safety is. According to the data provided by the European Travel Commission, regarding the most sought after qualities when organising a trip, Health and Safety/Hygiene came top: Something that we work to achieve on a daily basis, for safer and more sustainable tourism. Tourists are now more aware than ever that in their destination their health and safety must be a top priority. 

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