By: Eric J. Wu, Esq.

On July 1, 2018, California’s new standards on Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention (“MIPP”) went into effect. Adopted in January by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board (“OSHSB”) and codified in California Labor Code section 1197.5, the law institutes sweeping regulations to the hotel and hospitality industry and applies to all “lodging establishments,” including hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfast inns. The regulations target employers’ policies and practices pertaining to housekeepers and workplace injuries.

Standards

Cal/OSHA recognizes that hotel housekeeping is a physically demanding job and housekeepers are exposed to serious health risks. Under the new standards, employers must establish, implement, and maintain a written prevention program that addresses hazards specific to housekeeping. The MIPP may be incorporated into the existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (“IIPP”) and must include:

  1. Names or job titles of the persons with authority and responsibility for implementing the MIPP at each worksite.
  2. A system for ensuring that supervisors and housekeepers comply with the MIPP, follow the safe workplace housekeeping practices, and use the housekeeping tools or equipment deemed appropriate for each housekeeping task.
  3. A system for communicating with housekeepers about occupational safety and health matters in a way that is readily understandable to them.
  4. Procedures to identify and evaluate housekeeping hazards through a worksite evaluation.
  5. Procedures to investigate musculoskeletal injuries to housekeepers.
  6. Methods or procedures for correcting hazards in a timely manner.
  7. Procedures for reviewing the MIPP at each worksite to determine effectiveness and make corrections.

Worksite Evaluation

Employers must complete an initial worksite evaluation by October 1, 2018. The evaluation must identify and address potential injury risks to housekeepers, including: slip and falls; prolonged or awkward static postures; extreme or repetitive reaches above shoulder height; lifting or forceful whole body or hand exertions; torso bending, twisting, kneeling, and squatting; pushing and pulling; falling and striking objects; pressure points; excessive work-rate; and inadequate recovery time between tasks.

Worksite evaluations must be conducted at least annually, when new practices and procedures are implemented that may change or increase hazards, and also when the employer is made aware of a new or previously unrecognized hazard.

Training

Employers are required to provide training to all housekeepers and supervisors in a language they can readily understand. Training must be provided at least once a year, in addition to whenever new equipment or work practices are introduced or the employer becomes aware of a new or previously unrecognized housekeeping hazard.

Training for housekeepers must include:

  • Signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with musculoskeletal injuries;
  • The elements of the employer’s MIPP;
  • The process for reporting safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation;
  • Safe practices and body mechanics;
  • The importance of early reporting of symptoms and injury;
  • Practice using applicable equipment and tools; and
  • An opportunity to ask questions about housekeeping equipment and procedures.

Supervisors must be trained on: how to identify hazards, hazard correction procedures, how to identify and replace defective equipment, how to obtain additional equipment, how to evaluate the safety of housekeepers’ work practices, and how to effectively communicate with housekeepers about any practices that need correcting.

Records

Employers must maintain a copy of the MIPP and all worksite evaluation records. These records must be provided to Cal/OSHA within seventy-two hours of request. In addition, records must be available at each worksite for housekeepers to review and copy.

Next Steps for Employers

California hospitality and hotel employers should closely review the MIPP regulations to ensure they comply with the new standards. Employers who have not already adopted a new policy must immediately draft an MIPP, conduct worksite evaluations before October 1, 2018, and properly train housekeeping and supervisory staff.

If you need assistance or have questions about these regulations or about California’s unique employment laws, please contact Eric J. Wu. Eric is an associate at Leech Tishman’s El Segundo, California office and practices in the firm’s Employment, Corporate, and Litigation Practice Groups. He can be reached at 424.738.4400 or ewu@leechtishman.com.

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