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One state defines injury prevention, workplace safety for hotels

Several years ago, union members for hotel housekeepers requested that the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health define standards for injury prevention. In response to that request, the agency recently released recommendations that are hoped will increase workplace safety for this class of employees. While Missouri has not yet followed suit, workers here could benefit from similar regulations.

According to Cal/OSHA officials, those who work in the hospitality services as housekeepers suffer more work-related injuries than most other employees. These injuries are often described as both cumulative and acute, and the numbers of those suffering injuries have steadily increased. For the first time, the agency has issued regulations that employers are required to institute in order to decrease the risk of injury for these employees.

The regulations clearly define the duties that are considered a regular part of this type of work and requires employers to have a musculoskeletal injury prevention program (MIPP) in place at all times. This program must be visibly posted and includes the steps that both employers and workers must follow. There are to be on-site workplace evaluations, and employees must be regularly informed of inspections and the results. The plan must include the procedures for reporting injuries and all information that relates to how and when the injury occurred.

Cal/OSHA also mandates training be conducted for all new hires and refreshed annually. Employees are assured of the right to report incidents and to point out any unsafe practices without worrying about retaliation. Though the new workplace safety regulation applies only to California hospitality workers at this time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may require other states to develop similar plans. Missouri workers who suffer a work-related injury or illness are entitled to file a claim for benefits from the workers' compensation program. They are further assured of the right to seek assistance from an experienced attorney to help them through the process.

Source: safety.blr.com, "Cal/OSHA issues nation's first protections for housekeepers", Accessed on April 14, 2018

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