According to the latest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 500,000 employees working in hotels reported a workplace injury in 2016. Of those, 159,000 missed at least one day of work. Employees missing work due to injury means lost productivity and money for the company, and pain and suffering for the employee. Identifying common work place injuries and risks is the first step in lowering the number of employees who suffer injury.
Musculoskeletal injuries are one of the most common injuries in the hospitality industry, specifically for those working in housekeeping. According to Briotix Ergonomist Stefan Schulz, there are three simple practices those completing housekeeping tasks can implement to reduce the risk of these musculoskeletal injuries.
- Reduce the Time Spent In a Forward Bending Position
Injuries to the lower back are extremely common for those who spend significant time completing housekeeping tasks. The constant strain of making beds and cleaning hard to reach items puts strain on one's back. Two easy to implement strategies for reducing the time spent bending forward include:
- When tucking in bed sheet corners squat and put one knee on the ground. This will help your back stay in a neutral position when making a bed.
- When cleaning something above your head, move as close to the object as possible to ensure you are not leaning or reaching too far.
- Make Frequent, Small Trips
One greatly reduces the risk of a musculoskeletal injury when the weight one is carrying, pulling or pushing is reduced. Instead of overloading oneself with excess items, it is much better to take two or even three trips when possible. An example of this might be reducing the weight of a laundry cart. Instead of filling the cart with linens from an entire hotel floor, only fill the cart with half of the linens, take it down to the laundry, and then make a return trip to move the rest.
- If You Have Tools, Use Them
There are many tools that exist to help reduce workplace injuries but it is not uncommon to find them being unused in the workplace. These tools are specifically designed to assist with housekeeping tasks and reduce the strain on the body. Dusting and reaching tools are wonderful for minimizing the awkward postures often required for cleaning a bathroom. Bed tools are excellent tools for minimizing the force of lifting a mattress. If you are not comfortable using the tools or think they hinder more than help, Ergonomists recommend you give yourself a few weeks of using them to get used to the tool before you discard it as not helpful.
Legislation In the Works
California is addressing musculoskeletal injuries in the housekeeping industry head on with the new Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) Board state regulation requireing hotels and motels to have a unique injury prevention plan for their housekeeping departments. To assist companies with the new standard, which will be adopted in spring 2018, Briotix has created a free, comprehensive checklist which can be used by management to make changes to current practices and ensure compliance.
Learn More about our Injury Prevention Training
Reducing workplace injuries is important to all managers, not only for the wellbeing of their employees, but also to maintain productivity and save costs. To learn more about the comprehensive training and worksite assessments offered by Briotix, contact us today. We can help improve the safety of your work place while saving you money. Give us a call at 844-274-6849 ext. 112 or complete the online form and we will contact you.