California OKs Workplace Rule to Protect Hotel Housekeepers

March 14, 2018

California has adopted a new workplace safety and health regulation designed to reduce work-related injuries to housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry.

This is the first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers, according to Cal/OSHA, which will be enforce it.

The standard was approved March 9 by the Office of Administrative Law and will become effective July 1.

The new regulation requires employers in the hotel and lodging industry to implement and maintain an effective Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program.

Hotel housekeepers frequently suffer musculoskeletal injuries from lifting mattresses, pulling linens, pushing heavy carts, and slipping, tripping or falling while cleaning bathrooms, according to Cal/OSHA.

The program must include the following:

  • Procedures to identify and evaluate housekeeping hazards through worksite evaluations that include housekeeper input;
  • Procedures to investigate musculoskeletal injuries to housekeepers;
  • Methods to correct identified hazards;
  • Training of employees and supervisors on safe practices and controls, and a process for early reporting of injuries to the employer.

Musculoskeletal injuries, which are injuries of a muscle, tendon, ligament, bursa, peripheral nerve, joint, bone or spinal disc can prevent workers from returning to their jobs, and can impose high financial costs on the injured workers and their families, employers and insurers, according to Cal/OSHA.

The standard will be added to Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations as section 3345, Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.

“Hotel housekeepers have higher rates of acute and cumulative injuries compared to workers in other industries, and data shows those injuries have steadily increased,” Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in a statement. “This regulation requires employers to identify, evaluate and correct housekeeping-related hazards with the involvement of housekeepers and their union representative.”

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