Prevention of housekeepers' workplace injuries now in effect

Workers in the hospitality industry in California who work as housekeepers in hotels and other accommodation facilities now have an extra layer of protection that was absent before. Because of the excessive number of victims of workplace injuries in this industry, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health revised regulations for injury prevention. The updated rules became effective on July 1.

To prevent musculoskeletal injuries with housekeeping staff, employers must develop and establish musculoskeletal injury protection plans (MIPPS). The deadline for this is Oct. 1, and the written plans can form part of an existing Injury and Illness Prevention Plan. However, employees must have access to the written MIPPs while working their shifts. Although employers may have electronic plans available, housekeepers must have easy access to it.

Furthermore, employers of housekeepers must conduct initial evaluations of work areas to identify potential injury hazards, and they must then devise strategies to address those risks. Such assessments must then be repeated annually to ensure the MIPPs remain relevant. Employers must ensure the participation of union representatives and housekeepers in the worksite evaluations -- both in the design and conduct of these assessments.

While Cal/OSHA aims to limit workplace injuries in housekeepers with the new regulations, workers who have already suffered musculoskeletal disorders will likely face long-term medical expenses as well as potential lost income. It is not uncommon for musculoskeletal injuries to cause extended absences from work, and they could even end one's career. Seeking the support and guidance of an experienced California workers' compensation attorney might improve the chances of a victim of such workplace injuries to obtain maximum benefits.

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