When you’re pushing carts, making beds, lifting, and bending, it’s important to use the best ergonomics possible and take precautions to avoid slips, trips, and falls.
Most room cleaners are women, many are immigrants, and their injury rate is the highest among hotel workers.
NIOSH advises organizations to “identify and evaluate hazards and adopt interventions to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses in the hotel environment” – and this is exactly what a group of hotel industry reps is doing in BC.
Hotel safety in BC
Trina Wright is the program manager, industry health and safety at go2 – the BC tourism and hospitality industry’s human resource association. go2 is also the industry’s health & safety resource and COR certifying partner.
Trina facilitates an industry health & safety technical advisory committee of general managers, HR and safety professionals from BC hotel properties. The group is working together to identify key accidents for the hotel sector and develop strategies for prevention.
“We will aid the rest of the sector in reducing their injury rate, cost, and duration,” Trina said via email. “One of our key focuses this year is reducing the injury rate and duration for housekeeping staff.”
Michael King is a member of the technical advisory committee. He’s the safety and loss prevention manager for Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, where he and his colleagues have been testing an assistive device for workers who change beds. It’s called BedToolzzz and some Fairmont workers are trained to use it. Michael said they may use it for training and return-to-work programs.
I asked Michael how changing beds can pose an ergonomic hazard.
“In most guest rooms the design aspect takes precedent over the practicality of cleaning a room, which means that rooms are often tightly configured with little space between the bed and the bedside tables,” Michael wrote. “This makes access to the head area and corner of the bed very tricky unless excellent ergonomics are used.”
go2 also has a technical advisory committee looking at workers’ safety on BC’s 40 ski hills – so stay tuned for more.
More info on room cleaner safety
Preventing Injuries to Room Attendants from WorkSafeBC
Hotel Housekeeping – OSH Answers from CCOHS