Cleaning for a living is one of the most physically demanding jobs a person can have. All types of housekeeping jobs are difficult, but those who work as hotel housekeepers have some unique risks.
In fact, their risks of injury have been estimated at some 40% above that of other service industry employees. Let’s take a look at some of the more common types of injuries in this line of work:
Musculoskeletal and cumulative trauma injuries
Musculoskeletal injuries include muscle, tendon, nerve, ligament, joint and bone injuries. Hotel housekeepers use as many as 8,000 different positions in every room they clean – from making beds to picking things up off the floor to placing items on high shelves in closets. Of course, trips, slips and falls can also cause musculoskeletal injuries.
Cumulative trauma injuries occur over time due to repetitive motions like bending, kneeling, squatting, reaching and lifting. These movements often cause injuries to the back, knees, shoulders and neck.
Risks from dangerous cleaning supplies and found items
Those who clean commercial properties are often provided with extremely strong (and toxic) products. They can cause everything from chemical burns if they touch the skin to respiratory issues if they’re inhaled. Housekeepers should have access to masks, gloves and other personal protective items.
Housekeepers can – and do – find any number of dangerous items in rooms. These can include needles, broken glass, toxic substances and more.
Becoming a victim of violence
Only after a high-profile case of sexual assault on a hotel housekeeper in New York City did this problem get the public attention it long warranted. Housekeepers can become easy prey for sexual and other types of physical assault when they enter a hotel room. Many hotels now provide their housekeepers with panic buttons they can use if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Whether you work full-time as a housekeeper or you’re doing it part-time while going to school, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits if you’re injured on the job. This can cover medical bills and help recoup lost wages if you can’t work for a time. If you’re having difficulty getting the benefits to which you’re entitled under the law, it can help to have legal guidance.