Anyone who has stayed at a hotel has seen them: hotel housekeepers. Though it might appear that their work is not too hard, their days can be grueling and at times hazardous. In fact, according to one study hotel housekeepers are 40 percent more likely to suffer work injuries than other service sector workers. What are these hazards?
Types of injuries suffered by hotel housekeepers
At first glance, a hotel housekeeper’s work may not seem very taxing. But changing linens, running the vacuum, and cleaning the bathroom sink is just part of the story. Consider the effect that just one trend in the hotel industry has on the health of housekeepers: more amenities. To cite one example, it used to be that a bed had just two pillows. But nowadays, some hotel chains put five, six, or more pillows on a bed. Imagine having to change the pillowcases, not just in one room, but in several dozen rooms each working day, increasing the likelihood of a repetitive strain injury.
These are just some of the injuries that hotel housekeepers can suffer while working:
- Musculoskeletal injuries from flipping mattresses
- Overexertion from pushing heavy carts
- Exposure to toxic cleaning chemicals
- Injuries suffered as the result of cleaning mirrors and bathroom fixtures in awkward postures
- Slip-and-fall injuries suffered while cleaning showers and tubs
- Repetitive motion injuries from dusting surfaces and stuffing pillow cases
- Exposure to blood and other bodily secretions
- Assaults by hotel guests and other staff members
Hotel work is more dangerous than logging
How bad is the problem? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 for hotel workers the nonfatal occupational injuries rate was 5.1 for every hundred workers. This compares to a rate of 3.3 for all industries. By comparison, the injury rate for workers in the logging industry (generally thought to be a dangerous occupation) was only 2.1!
Workers’ compensation benefits for hotel workers
Most hotel workers are covered by the workers’ compensation system. Hotel housekeepers who have suffered injuries while working should speak with an experienced attorney if they have questions about obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.