California’s state-run OSHA program has proposed a standard to prevent musculoskeletal injuries among hotel housekeepers. Read on to find out more about the effort and how long it’s been on the drawing board.
For years, advocates for hotel housekeepers have been pushing for a regulation to protect these workers, who are exposed to significant risks on the job. In January 2012, the union UNITE HERE filed a petition with the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) requesting the adoption of a standard to address a variety of hazards, including limiting the square footage that can be assigned to a worker during an eight-hour shift.
According to Fisher Phillips employment lawyer Benjamin Ebbink, the Cal/OSHA plan will require employers in hotels and other lodging workplaces to develop and implement a written musculoskeletal injury prevention program. Employers will also be required to conduct a worksite evaluation to assess each housekeeping task, control exposures, and train employees. The written program may be incorporated into an existing injury and illness prevention program or maintained separately.
The evaluation must identify and address risks including slips, trips, and falls; prolonged or awkward static postures; extreme and repetitive reaches; torso bending and twisting; pushing and pulling; falling and striking objects; and excessive work rate, among others.
The review board will hold a public hearing May 18 to receive comments on the proposal.