In what may be the first action of its kind, Cal-OSHA has charged that the duties performed by housekeepers at a hotel â€” scrubbing, bed making, vacuuming â€” violate the state's repetitive-motion rules, according to a report in theLos Angeles Times.
A citation issued late last month by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health identified eight infractions at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel.
The Hilton is one of several hotels near the airport whose employees the Unite Here union wants to organize, and the citation was issued after a complaint was filed with the agency by two Hilton housekeepers and a labor health advocacy group that supports the union, according to theTimes.
The hotel plans to appeal the citation, a spokesman said.
California is the only state that explicitly requires employers to minimize the risk of repetitive-motion injuries through training and, if necessary, by redesigning job tasks, theTimessaid. The rules were adopted in 1997.
The LAX Hilton "did not follow policies that other Hilton hotels followed," said Len Welsh, head of Cal-OSHA. 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.
Several studies in recent years have documented growing injury rates among housekeepers, particularly at upscale hotels that have added heavier mattresses and more furniture, theTimessaid.
Housekeeper Adela Barrientos, one of the two named in the complaint, said her work had become harder in the nine years she'd been with the LAX Hilton. "They keep putting more things in the room," she said, and haven't reduced her assignment to clean 16 rooms each day.