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Hotel housekeepers regularly receive serious injuries

A new study has indicated that hotel workers may have some of the highest injury rates among service workers. Many of them, whose lives are drastically changed by their serious injuries, do not file for workers' compensation and continue working with their injuries instead.

Hotel housekeepers in Ohio and elsewhere in the country regularly have to lift beds that are roughly 100 pounds. Many hotels have decided to upgrade their mattresses to keep up with competition from other hotels and now use luxury mattresses. These luxury mattresses weigh significantly more than the average mattress.

Every day, hotel housekeepers have to change sheets on approximately 20 beds. These sheets, which are flat sheets rather than fitted sheets, require each housekeeper to lift the bed in order to tuck the sheet.

After a study indicated that 75 percent of hotel housekeepers reported a workplace injury in 2002, red flags began to go up. Some of these housekeepers received severe back injuries while others received injuries to their rotator cuffs and many are dealing with sciatica because of their job.

A new bill in California is hoping to eliminate some of these injuries by requiring fitted sheets and long-handled cleaning equipment. If the bill passes, and the effects are positive, other states like Ohio should follow suit.

Many of the hotel housekeepers are currently able to file for workers' compensation because of the injuries they have received on the job. If an injury is serious enough to require time off for surgery or recuperation, workers' compensation can be filed. If a bill like this was enacted elsewhere, workers' compensation filing in the hotel industry would likely decline.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Heavy Lifting: Hotel Housekeepers Reprise Farm Workers' Struggle for Safer Working Conditions," Donal Cohen, August 2, 2011

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