California hotel, motel and bed and breakfast employers are faced with a new Cal/OSHA compliance rule, which takes effect July 1, 2018 and requires extensive action on their part no later than Sept. 29 of this year.

The new rules are designed to prevent and reduce work-related injuries to housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry. This is the first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers. The new standard, which will be enforced by Cal/OSHA.

The new regulation requires employers in the hotel and lodging industry to establish, implement and maintain an effective Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP). Hotel housekeepers frequently suffer musculoskeletal injuries from lifting mattresses, pulling linens, pushing heavy carts, and slipping, tripping or falling while cleaning bathrooms.

There are no exceptions for small employers - so every hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast establishment must: complete an ergonomic evaluation, including participation by their housekeeping employees, in the nature of their job activities, the tools and equipment used, and how to minimize injuries.  Then training on the risks of musculoskeletal injuries for supervisors and employees must be conducted, specific accident investigations need to occur and the entire plan must be contained in a written Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Plan.

"Hotel housekeepers have higher rates of acute and cumulative injuries compared to workers in other industries, and data shows those injuries have steadily increased," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "This regulation requires employers to identify, evaluate and correct housekeeping-related hazards with the involvement of housekeepers and their union representative."

The MIPP must include the following:

  • 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

Musculoskeletal injuries, which are injuries of a muscle, tendon, ligament, bursa, peripheral nerve, joint, bone or spinal disc can prevent workers from returning to their jobs and can impose high financial costs on the injured workers and their families, employers and insurers. 

The standard is in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations as section 3345, Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.

Combined has joined with CalWorkSafety, LLC to provide help to our clients to comply with this new requirement. Combined, welcomes the opportunity to assist all hotel, motel and bed and breakfast employers in complying with this new regulation.  Even though the regulation is not effective until July 1, 2018, now is when employers are encouraged to use this period to prepare for the defined steps necessary to comply with the new law.