Cal/OSHA Approves New Injury Rules to Protect Housekeepers

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has created new injury rules intended to protect housekeepers.

Cal/OSHA’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board approved new Title 8 – Section § 3345, Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention (PDF), at a meeting attended by hotel housekeepers from across the state. The move is part of a wave of efforts to protect housekeepers from workplace dangers including injuries, heavy workloads, sexual harassment and assault.

The approval is part of a multiyear lobbying effort by hospitality workers union UNITE HERE, which represents 270,000 members of the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation and airport industries in the United States and Canada.

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New Cal/OSHA Housekeeper Injury Prevention Regulations

Under the new standard, hotels will be required to reduce injury risks for housekeepers and offer them proper tools, such as long-handled mops or devices to help make beds. Housekeepers will get training on injury risks and have the right to suggest solutions to those risks.

These rules aim to reduce repetitive strain injuries, sprains, and muscle tears from performing housekeeping tasks including, but not limited to, the following:

  • (1) sweeping, dusting, scrubbing, mopping and polishing of floors, tubs, showers, sinks, mirrors, walls, fixtures, and other surfaces;
  • (2) making beds;
  • (3) vacuuming;
  • (4) loading, unloading, pushing, and pulling linen carts;
  • (5) removing and supplying linen and other supplies in the rooms;
  • (6) collecting and disposing of trash; and
  • (7) moving furniture.

The rules would apply to “lodging establishments,” which are defined as establishments that contain “sleeping room accommodations that are rented or otherwise provided to the public, such as hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfast inns.”

Hospitals, nursing homes, residential retirement communities, prisons, jails, homeless shelters, boarding schools, and worker housing are excluded from the definition.

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