The California hotel industry has until July 1, 2018, to prepare for new safety requirements. Under the new rule, lodging establishments will need to create a Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program. The goal is to prevent injuries among housekeepers.
Injuries Among Housekeepers
Hotel housekeepers perform physical tasks that can result in injuries. Repetitive motions, awkward positions and heavy lifting are among the activities that can cause injuries, including back and neck problems. Housekeepers are often required to perform their duties quickly, cleaning many rooms in quick succession and leaving little time to rest.
In 2012, the labor union UNITE HERE filed a petition calling for new standards to address the health and safety hazards faced by housekeepers.
According to UNITE HERE, hotel workers experience an injury rate that is 40 percent higher than the rate experienced by all service sector workers.1 In a survey of hotel housekeeper in the United States and Canada, 91 percent reported work-related pain.
Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program
To address the risks that housekeepers face, the California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, often called Cal/OSHA, has adopted new regulations.
Effective July 1, lodging establishments in California are required to create and implement a written Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP). The MIPP may be incorporated into the employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).
The MIPP must do the following:
- Identify who will be in charge of implementing the MIPP.
- Create a system for ensuring compliance with the MIPP, adherence to safe housekeeping practices and use of appropriate tools for housekeeping tasks.
- Create a system for communicating health and safety issues to housekeepers.
- Develop procedures to identify and evaluate hazards during a worksite evaluation.
- Develop procedures to investigate musculoskeletal injuries.
- Develop methods to correct hazards.
- Create procedures to evaluate the MIPP and address any weaknesses.
The initial worksite evaluation must be completed within three months of the effective date – so by October 1, 2018 – or within three months of opening a new worksite. A new evaluation must be completed at least annually, or when other stated criteria are met.
Employers must also provide training to housekeepers and their supervisors. Records of all compliance measures must be maintained.
To learn more about the new safety requirements, you can read the full text of the safety orders on the California Department of Industrial Relations webpage on Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.2