Oakland—Cal/OSHA has produced a fact sheet and poster to help employers in the hotel and lodging industry comply with a new regulation to prevent work-related injuries suffered by housekeeping workers. The Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention regulation went into effect July 1 and requires employers to complete an initial worksite evaluation by October 1 to identify and address housekeeping worker hazards.
The Safety and Health Fact Sheet provides an overview of the workplace health and safety requirements that reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders common among housekeepers. Employers are also encouraged to post the Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries in Housekeepers poster in a place accessible to all housekeeping workers. The poster includes information on the causes of musculoskeletal injuries, the employer’s responsibility to have an effective program to control the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, and employees’ rights.
“We created these guidance materials to help workers know their rights and employers their responsibilities to comply with this standard,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “In addition, Cal/OSHA Consultation Services are available to assist employers and employees who have questions or need more information.”
The employer’s housekeeping safety program must include the following:
- Procedures to identify and evaluate housekeeping hazards through worksite evaluations
- Procedures to investigate musculoskeletal injuries to housekeepers
- Methods to correct identified hazards
- Employee and supervisor training on safe work practices and on the process for early reporting of injuries to the employer
- Procedures to involve employees and their union representative in worksite evaluations, injury investigations, and evaluation of corrective measures
A musculoskeletal injury is caused by a single traumatic event, such as slip, trip or fall, or by repeated exposure over weeks, months or years to repetitive motion, force, vibration or awkward positions caused by daily tasks such as lifting heavy furniture and equipment, pulling linens and pushing carts.
In 2012, hotel worker representatives presented a petition to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board requesting a new standard to control the hazards faced by hotel housekeepers. Cal/OSHA convened public advisory meetings over a three-year period to gather information, and determined that existing regulations did not adequately address the hazards faced by housekeepers. Dozens of workers spoke at the meetings, sharing their experiences and discussing how their injuries impacted their lives at work and at home.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, is the division within the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) that helps protect California’s workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace.
Hotel and lodging industry employers are encouraged to contact Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch for free on-site or telephone consultations. Consultation Services assist employers in developing and maintaining workplace safety and health programs pursuant to Cal/OSHA’s regulations. Employers and employees can call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.
Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734). Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.