The partners, collectively known as the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), collaborate to identify critical workplace issues in industry sectors. NORA has released a set of recommendations aimed at improving safety and health among hotel cleaners, who are mostly immigrant and minority women.
According to a recent academic study cited in DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2011-194, , housekeepers had the highest rates of injury of all jobs studied in sampled hotels. Among that group, Hispanic females had the highest rate of injury
The publication identifies the following hazards for hotel cleaners:
- Ergonomic hazards that include bending, pushing carts, and making beds
- Trauma hazards that include slips, trips, and falls
- Respiratory, dermal, and possibly carcinogenic hazards from chemicals in cleaning products
- Mold and microbial contaminants
- Infectious agents
- Occupational stress due to heavy workloads, lack of adequate supplies, job insecurity, low pay, and discrimination
In order to reach goals that include reducing the incidence and severity of occupational injuries, illness and death among hotel workers by 20%, NORA has issued the following recommendations to groups such as unions, worker organizations and hotel/motel associations:
- Identify and evaluate hazards and adopt interventions to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses in the hotel environment.
- Evaluate the quality and ensure maintenance of equipment used in hotel cleaning operations.
- Encourage the use of ergonomic carts and vacuum cleaners, and long-handled tools like mops and scrub brushes; and inform suppliers about the best equipment for cleaners.
- Conduct research on guest practices that would improve the work environment for room cleaners.
- Partner with OSHA, NIOSH, labor, and others to study why disparities exist in injury rates among room cleaners and what remedies are effective, and to quickly implement available remedies.
- Lead a work group to address priority issues related to a strategic goal to help inform employers and policy makers about hazards and interventions.
- Assist in the design of an effective system to track occupational injuries and illnesses in the hotel/motel industry.
- Represent a partner organization to work on a goal implementation plan.
- Provide input to the NORA Coordinator on the implementation of goals (firstname.lastname@example.org) and suggest important issues to consider for future goals.