Friday, December 9, 2022

New Safety Rule to Protect Hotel Housekeepers to Take Effect July 1

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

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) will enforce the new standard, which was approved March 9 by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and will go into effect on July 1.

The new regulation requires hotel and lodging employers to establish, implement and maintain an effective Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP) for housekeepers.

New Standard

According to the new standard, which the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved on January 18, the MIPP must include:

• 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.

CalChamber Involvement

Adoption of the proposed standard is the culmination of a years-long process that started in 2012 when UNITE HERE, a labor union representing workers in the hotel, gaming, food service, airport, textile, manufacturing, distribution, laundry and transportation industries, petitioned the Cal/OSHA Standards Board to develop a safety and health standard to “address the occupational hazards faced by housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry.”

Advocates called for stronger protections and better ergonomics training for hotel housekeeping workers to wrestle heavy mattresses and increased hotel room amenities, such as heavier comforters and towels.

The California Chamber of Commerce and other industry stakeholders participated in advisory committees convened by Cal/OSHA to bring together labor union workers, their advocates and industry representatives to discuss possible regulatory approaches and language.

Cal/OSHA adopted a number of CalChamber-recommended revisions to the regulatory language while not agreeing with the CalChamber and industry contention that a separate program for the musculoskeletal injuries was unwarranted.

The new standard will be added to Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations as Section 3345, Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.

Staff Contact: Marti Fisher

Related Articles

COVID-19 Regulation: Cal/OSHA Makes Big Changes Ahead of December Vote

California employers may want to get out their measuring tape — because the size (in cubic feet) of a workspace just became an important element of COVID-19 compliance. Last Thursday and Friday (October 13–14), the...

CalChamber Calls for Changes to Nonemergency COVID Draft Rule

The Cal/OSHA Standards Board’s draft proposal to extend the state’s COVID-19 regulation for another two years — with some significant changes from the COVID-19 emergency regulation — still needs adjustments, the California Chamber of...

State Change in COVID-19 Definition of ‘Close Contact’ Leaves Questions for California Employers

One of the most well-known elements of COVID-19 workplace safety was changed last month — to relatively little fanfare — and it has left California employers with many questions. The longstanding definition of a “close...