A new regulation in California seeks to reduce the injury rate among hotel/motel housekeepers. And, it’s the first of its kind in the nation.

Effective July 1, 2018, the law requires employers to establish a Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP) to address and reduce the most common job-related injuries among housekeeping workers. Many of these injuries include muscle strains, sprains, and tears from lifting heavy mattresses and performing other difficult tasks. These injuries can require physical therapy, daily pain medication, surgery, or could result in permanent disability.

What may be more interesting about this law is how it’s implemented rather than the requirements it sets forth. Namely, the law requires that your employees (and their labor union) be involved in the establishment and maintenance of your safety measures.

What your employees need to know about the participation requirement

Whether it’s scrubbing floors, lifting a heavy mattress, or vacuuming carpets, your workers know the job better than anyone else does. And, Cal/OSHA wants them to be heard.

For example, the new standard requires an annual worksite evaluation, as part of the MIPP. It also requires that your workers and their union representatives help design and conduct this evaluation. You must also notify them of the results either in writing or by posting the results at the workplace.

Employees and union reps also assist in identifying and evaluating possible corrective measures, and they participate in the annual review of the MIPP.

And, the regulation includes employees in accident investigations whenever needed. If a housekeeper is hurt on the job, you’re required to seek input from that worker on whether additional control measures or tools could have prevented the injury. Similar input from the worker’s immediate supervisor and labor union is also required.

At your safety meeting

Introduce the new law to your employees. Explain the benefits, specifically how it’s designed to help them.

Also, discuss how your employees get involved. You can ask for volunteers, form a safety committee, and even establish a suggestion box for anyone on staff to submit an idea or concern. Encourage everyone to participate and remind all employees there are no repercussions for speaking up.

Review the signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries. These can appear suddenly or gradually in the form of swelling, redness, decreased range of motion, pain, tenderness, tingling, or numbness. Seek input from employees on the best way to address these injury risks.

Reducing the injury risk in the hotel, motel, lodging industry is a team effort. Your employees bring fresh ideas to the safety process and will appreciate being involved.

This results in a more robust safety program, reduced risk of injury, happier employees, and better service to your customers.

The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.