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2018 California Rule Protects Hotel Housekeepers and Maids from Injuries

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration has implemented new rules that are intended to help prevent musculoskeletal injuries that are specific to the hazards of housekeeping employees in hotels, resorts and even bed and breakfasts. They become effective on July 1, 2018. The purpose of the new rules is to prevent the musculoskeletal injuries that these personnel often suffer. In order to comply with the new rules, employers of these personnel must establish, implement and maintain written musculoskeletal injury programs in an easily understood language. It’s the only ergonomic regulation in the United States that has been written exclusively for prevention of injuries to housekeepers. Workplace dangers for these integral but often invisible employees include lifting of mattresses, vacuuming, stretching when hand-scrubbing bathroom floors and pushing heavy carts.

What are Musculoskeletal Injuries
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal injuries consist of nearly one-third of all work-related injuries. It reports that the average musculoskeletal injury comes at a direct cost of about $15,000. They affect a person’s movement due to painful injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Tissue becomes inflamed and swollen, and that causes pressure on nerves at or near the affected area. Those nerves send signals of pain to the brain. Here are just a few of some of the more common musculoskeletal injuries or disorders suffered by hotel housekeeping personnel:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprained ligaments
  • Rotator cuff wear and tear
  • Degenerative disc disease

Identification of Possible Hazards
Housekeepers are often required to “to turnover” 14 to 20 rooms per day. All existing workplaces contemplated by the new rule must perform an appropriate evaluation by October 1, 2018. New establishments must do so within three months of opening. Those businesses that are subject to the rule must identify and address the following possible hazards:

  • Slip-and-falls
  • Trip-and-falls
  • Extreme reaches
  • Above shoulder reaches
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Bending
  • Kneeling
  • Squatting
  • Pushing and pulling
  • Falling objects

All of those must be considered in an employment environment with what many consider to have an excessive work rate with insufficient recovery time between job tasks. The California Chamber of Commerce takes exception to the new rules. It’s position is that injury complaints by housekeeping personnel are due to an employer’s violations of existing laws, and not the lack of regulatory mandates.

Contact Us Sooner Rather Than Later
If you have been injured in a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast or similar business, contact us right away for a free case consultation and review. Our objective is to maximize the proceeds that you might derive from a settlement or verdict. Whether you were injured in a sudden and traumatic accident like a slip-and fall or a trip-and fall, or you developed repetitive motion injury over time, contact us as soon as possible by phone or email. We’ll arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. We’ll listen to you closely, and we’ll answer your questions. Then, we’ll advise you of your legal options. Workers’ compensation might not be your sole and exclusive remedy either. You might be eligible for other compensation.

We take these cases on a contingency fee basis. No legal fees are even due unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us on any sudden and traumatic injury or musculoskeletal disorder that developed over time at work as a housekeeper. It won’t cost you a single penny to talk with us.