Among the toughest jobs to have in the hospitality industry are in housekeeping. From small roadside motels to five-star resorts, cleaning guests’ rooms can tax just about every muscle in the body – and that’s just the beginning of the risks.
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF) says that these employees have a 40% higher risk of injury than those working in any other type of service profession. Let’s look at some of the most common risks.
These injuries can involve the muscles, tendons, nerves, joints, ligaments and bones. They’re often caused by all the motions a housekeeper has to go through as they clean each room — including lifting, bending, kneeling, squatting and more. Hotel housekeepers can use thousands of different positions as they clean a room.
Slips, trips and falls can also cause musculoskeletal injuries. However, these injuries involve acute trauma from one event rather than repeated movements that cause cumulative trauma. It doesn’t matter to an injured employee what kind of trauma it is. You just know that you’re in pain and continuing to work only makes it worse.
Toxic and dangerous items
Hotel housekeepers generally work with very strong cleaning and bleaching products. If you’re in a small space with poor ventilation, such as the bathroom of a hotel room, these can be overwhelming and dangerous.
Housekeepers encounter all kinds of items in hotel rooms – in the trash and just strewn about. From broken glass to used needles and more, there can be any number of contaminated and/or sharp objects.
Every employer has an obligation to provide the safest possible workplace for their workers and the necessary protective equipment. However, this is no guarantee against injury – particularly in this line of work.
It’s crucial to understand that if you’ve suffered a work-related injury, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits without fear of being fired or other retaliation as a result. These benefits can cover medical care and help cover wages you lose if you’re unable to work as you’re recovering. If you’re having difficulty getting the benefits you deserve, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.