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Workplace injuries threats to housekeepers addressed

Housekeepers in the hospitality industry in California who believe their hard work is not appreciated and the injury risks they face are disregarded will likely find comfort in learning that this will no longer be the case. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has recently approved a list of suggested safety rules to protect the health and safety of housekeepers. The plans include exposure to workplace injuries, heavy workloads and the risks of being harassed and assaulted.

The protection plan, called Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention, was unanimously approved by Cal/OSHA on Jan. 18. A director of the labor union for hospitality workers nationwide said this workforce is primarily made up of female immigrants of color who typically face high risks of suffering workplace injuries. The labor group commended California for recognizing the severity of the risks these workers face and for taking steps to protect them.

Musculoskeletal injuries to housekeepers in the hospitality industry typically result from handling heavy objects. These could include pushing heavily loaded service trolleys, repeated lifting of mattresses that could weigh as much as 100 lbs. and scrubbing the glass shower doors in every room that they clean. Furthermore, vacuuming hundreds of yards of carpet in rooms and reception areas along with miles of passages can add to the musculoskeletal stress that could cause disability.

Hotel owners will have to implement measures to protect housekeepers from harm as they go about their daily tasks. While the rules might limit such life-changing workplace injuries, it may not eliminate them. Victims of injuries in the California hospitality industry will continue to have the protection of the workers' compensation system of the state. Injured employees will remain entitled to file benefits claims to help them cope with the financial consequences of such injuries.

Source: ehstoday.com, "Cal/OSHA Approves Hotel Housekeeper Safety Rules", Stefanie Valentic, Jan. 23, 2018

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