Thursday, November 12, 2009

Times Article Reveals Housekeeping Dangers

Everyone knows that housekeepers are primarily female so it should surprise no one that those housekeepers injured on the job are also primarily female. A new study, to be published in January in The American Journal of Industrial Medicine, and cited in a Nov. 10 New York Times article, says housekeepers have a 7.9 percent injury rate each year, 50 percent higher than for all hotel workers and twice the rate for all workers in the United States.

Interestingly, the study found that Hispanic housekeepers had the highest injury rate--10.6 percent a year--compared with 6.3 percent for white housekeepers, 5.5 percent for black housekeepers, and 7.3 percent for Asian housekeepers. Why are hispanics injured more often? According to the New York Times article, it may because of their smaller stature or the fact that they are given heavier workloads. What do you think? My guess is that there are just more Hispanics working as housekeepers.

The study included 50 unionized properties and examined 2,865 injuries over a three-year span. The study found the highest injury rate for housekeepers was at Hyatt Corp. That is not good news for Hyatt, fresh off of its housekeeper firing debacle in Boston in late August. That said, one would really have to take a closer look at the data to see if it in any way was biased against Hyatt (e.g., there just happen to be more Hyatt hotels in the study). The housekeeper injury rate was the lowest at Hilton--5.47 percent.

I don't think anyone can argue the fact that housekeepers are at a much greater risk of injury--on average--than anyone else who works in a hotel. Do what is necessary to provide your housekeepers with what they need--training, products, etc.--to make their jobs ergonomically and chemically safe. Housekeepers are the unsung heroes of our industry. Treat them with respect and as you would want to be treated. Your thoughts?

1 comment:

JAY said...

I have been working with a hotel in England and we have set up a system to take away the non-added value in housekeeping.
It has improved morale, job rotation and cost saving within the housekeeping staff and they have all seen the benefits the change has brougth.
I am now talking to one of the big chains and we hope to roll this out world wide.
Please frrl free to contact me aout more info around the systems.