Many are surprised to learn that hotels can be a dangerous place to work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hotel worker injury rate stands at 5%, making it the highest level of injury among all service industry workers.
Hotel room cleaners have substantially higher rates of injury than other hotel staff, with almost 8% of workers suffering injuries, according to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and covered by the L.A. Times. This compares to 2% for banquet servers and 6% for chefs. The majority of workers in the travel and hospitality industry are women.
When people hear reports of the danger of hotel cleaning, images of the Dominique Strauss Khan case may come to mind. Yet sexual and physical assault are not the biggest risks faced by hotel room cleaners; instead, grueling physical labor is the biggest danger. According to a recent study in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, dusting, vacuuming, laundering linens and making beds, and scrubbing bathrooms contribute to a wide set of injuries. Some of the most common include:
- Back injuries from repeated bending and pushing carts
- Respiratory illness from mold and other contaminant exposure
- Respiratory and skin problems (toxic injury) from chemical cleaning products
- Slip and fall accidents caused by wet or slippery floors
While these injuries may be integral to the job, a good deal of precautions can reduce these injuries. For example, the California State Senate recently passed legislation mandating that hotels provide cleaning service staff with long-handled mops to minimize bending over. They also required the use of fitted rather than flat sheets to cut down on lifting mattresses.
Washington Employment Attorney
If you or someone you know works as a hotel room cleaner, do not ignore persistent pains, as untreated repetitive stress injuries can grow worse over time. If you need help recovering your workers compensation benefitsor are looking toappeal a denied L&I claim, an Employment attorneyat Emery Reddy can represent your interests. Moreover, if L&I has required you to take anindependent medical examfor your L&I claim, consult an Employment Attorney in advance.