California adopts new safety regulations for housekeepers

This is the first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers.

California has adopted a new workplace safety and health regulation to prevent and 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.

The new standard, which will be enforced by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) was approved Friday 9 March 2018 by the Office of Administrative Law and will become effective Sunday 1 July 2018.

“Hotel housekeepers have higher rates of acute and cumulative injuries compared to workers in other industries, and data shows those injuries have steadily increased,” said Cal/OSHA chief Juliann Sum.

“This regulation requires employers to identify, evaluate and correct housekeeping-related hazards with the involvement of housekeepers and their union representative.”

The regulation requires employers in the hotel and lodging industry to establish, implement and maintain an effective Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP).

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

The MIPP 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

In 2012, hotel worker representatives presented a petition to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) requesting a new standard to regulate the specific hazards faced by hotel housekeepers.

Cal/OSHA convened open advisory meetings over a three-year period to gather information, and determined that existing regulations did not adequately address the hazards faced by housekeepers.

OSHSB adopted the proposed standard on Thursday 18 January after six years of staff research, analysis and participation by the public through meetings, hearings and submission of comments. The standard will be added to Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations as section 3345, Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.

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