November 15, 2007 The Pump Handle 0Comment

Molly Selvin of the Los Angeles Times reports that California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has issued a citation to a Hilton hotel at LAX airport for violations of the State’s rules to protect workers from repetitive motion injuries.  She quotes Len Welsh head of Cal/OSHA:

“‘The LAX Hilton ‘did not follow policies that other Hilton hotels followed,’ Welsh said. He added that other chains had adopted a number of approaches to training housekeepers that could alleviate repetitive motion stress and had given workers leeway to break up tasks with rest time to prevent injuries.”

The workload of hotel housekeepers has grown substantially over the last decade or two, as hotel chains compete for business by putting in bigger beds, more pillows, triple layers of sheets and 30-pound comforters.  It might be nice for travelers, but it is a pain (literally) in the backs, shoulders and wrists of hotel room attendants.

Pam Vossenas, a safety and health experts with UniteHere! says:

“The citation has confirmed what workers have been telling their physicians and management at the LAX Hilton, that this work and the workload are causing them pain and injury.”

Kudos! to Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Selvin for this important story.  She briefly recaps federal OSHA’s unsuccessful efforts to address ergonomic hazards and notes that California is the only State that requires employers to reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries.

For more info about the hotel workers’ struggle in Los Angeles, read here about the workers’s “Quilt of Pain and Tears” and the community’s show of solidarity for the workers (here).

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