As one of the top vacation destinations in the world, Florida has a multitude of hotels and resorts of all kinds. Hotel housekeepers make up an important part of the state’s workforce. Whether this is your full-time, year-round occupation or a summer job during college, it’s hard, physically demanding work.
According to The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF), U.S. hotel workers are at 40% higher risk of injury than workers in any other service sector. They have higher rates of musculoskeletal and acute trauma injuries than those other workers.
These are particularly common for hotel housekeepers. They can be caused by repeated lifting, squatting, bending, kneeling and other motions that are necessary when cleaning.
Falls caused by slipping or tripping also cause musculoskeletal injuries, which can involve muscles, joints, nerves, tendons, bones and ligaments. Falls also come under the heading of “acute trauma” injuries.
Cumulative trauma injuries
Because of the repetitive nature of their work, hotel housekeepers are at risk of suffering a range of injuries caused by repetitive movements. Cumulative traumas most often cause pain and injury to the back, shoulders, knees, arms and neck.
Many housekeeping tasks require force or awkward positioning. One study found that in the average time it takes to clean a room (about 25 minutes), a housekeeping employee uses about 8,000 body postures.
Of course, those among the housekeeping staff also face risks from their regular use of cleaning products with strong chemicals, from sharp objects like broken glass and even needles and more. They’re also at particular risk for physical and sexual assault. In fact, many hotels across the country now give their housekeeping staff panic buttons.
Hotels and other lodging establishments have a responsibility to take steps to help prevent all of the injuries discussed here. In fact, California even has a law enacted to help protect housekeepers from suffering musculoskeletal injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury (even one that’s developed over time) or illness caused by your housekeeping work, it’s crucial to get the medical care – and the workers’ compensation – you need and deserve. If you’re having difficulty getting that compensation, it may be wise to seek legal advice.