Industries throughout the United States are required to focus on worker’s safety and consider measures that can make the workplace a safe environment for all individuals.
A hotel housekeeper is required to perform a range of duties when it comes to maintaining the conditions of rooms and putting up with modern amenities. With some of these duties being intense, these individuals are at the risk of being subjected to serious injuries.
While most of us remain completely unaware of the hundred-pound luxury comforter that an ordinary hotel housekeeper must deal with more than ten times in a day, we seldom pay attention to the risks such occupations present.
Some risks the housekeeping must face as a part of their work routine:
- Physical workload and job activities require high intensity body motions that promote back pains and injuries.
- Duties that require forceful movements of the upper limbs; promoting a higher risk for shoulder. and neck injury.
- Dealing with heavy objects.
- Working in congested spaces.
From 2010 to 2014, the hotel housekeeping workforce has experienced an increase in the number of workplace injuries; with 897 more claims each year, as noted by the Department of Industrial Relations.
Taking the health of housekeeping workers seriously, Cal/OSHA introduced a series of regulations that encourages employers to follow procedures limiting the number of workplace related injuries amongst housekeeping workers.
Taking the health of housekeeping workers seriously, Cal/OSHA introduced a series of regulations that encourages employers to follow procedures limiting the number of workplace related injuries amongst housekeeping workers. Click To Tweet
It is to be noted that musculoskeletal injuries, which affect the muscles, nerves, and supporting structures of the human body and are caused by workers falling, slipping, and tripping in the workplace, have been on the rise. A report released by Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) research staff in 2016 indicates that the cases of worker injury claims involving musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) amongst hotel housekeepers increased to 4,089 in 2014 from being just a little over 3,000 in 2010.
While in 2011, California released the Bill 423 that eliminated unsafe practices performed in the industry, such as tasks involving housekeepers to clean tubs and bathroom floors on their knees; given the lack of the usage of tools such as long-handled cleaning tools.
“This bill would require the standards board to adopt a standard, no later than December 1, 2012, relating to housekeeping in transient lodging establishments requiring the use of fitted sheets on beds or the use of an approved alternative to assist in sheet installation, as specified, and the use of long-handled tools for cleaning bathrooms,” the legislature noted.
This year, California released a new standard that focuses specifically on protecting workers operating in the hotel and hospitality industry.
After six years of staff research, analysis and public participation, the new standard was produced only last month. The new standard is to be enforced by the 1st of July and will be added to the Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations as section 3345, Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.
The standard takes under consideration the causes of injuries and health issues faced by the industry and requires all employers to develop, carefully implement, maintain, and monitor the effectiveness of a Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP).
Keeping in mind that hotel housekeepers are most likely to suffer from musculoskeletal injuries by performing work-related activities such as lifting heavy mattresses, folding bulky sheets, and pushing loaded carts.
The MIPP requires employers with in the hospitality and hotel industry to focus on the following areas:
- Develop procedures that identify and evaluate hazards at the worksite; as indicated by housekeepers.
- Develop procedures that look into musculoskeletal injuries faced by housekeepers.
- Implement methods that address the hazards identified.
- Seek help from training such as CAL OSHA Training Course that discusses controls and safe practices for monitoring and reporting injuries during their early stages.
Continuing on with the mission of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), this latest set of regulations by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA is designed to protect the valuable lives of housekeepers.
Ensuring that no employees or their families should ever have to suffer from workplace dangers that could be avoided, these measures are aimed towards creating a safe workplace and provide businesses within the hospitality industry a guide to promoting a healthy environment for all their employees.