The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has told Hyatt Hotels what the hotel chain’s housekeepers have been telling it for years—“Hyatt Hurts.”
OSHA issued a formal Hazard Alert letter telling Hyatt that its housekeepers face ergonomic risks every day on the job. The letter outlines steps Hyatt can take to reduce housekeeper injuries.
Pamela Vossenas, UNITEHERE!’s health and safety director, says by issuing the Hazard Alert at a corporate level:
“OSHA is telling Hyatt that the dangers of housekeeping work are real, that there are reasonable solutions and it’s time for Hyatt to put them into practice across the country.”
The letter follows a yearlong OSHA investigation into injury complaints workers filed in 2010. Hyatt once told federal investigators that the workers’ injuries could have been the result of dancing, not lifting heavy mattresses and cleaning as many as 30 rooms a day, as some Hyatt housekeepers do. In one filing, Hyatt wrote:
“The close association of housekeeping with routine life also raises difficult questions about causation. One’s injury is at least as likely to have occurred during non-work activities like sports, dancing or performing routine chores in one’s home.”
OSHA also says Hyatt must keep records on injuries suffered by sub-contracted workers at its hotels.
Maria Soto, a housekeeper at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio who has been injured cleaning rooms, says:
“For years, we have asked Hyatt to make simple changes that would ease the toll on our bodies. Now our voices are being heard, and the federal government is joining us in calling on Hyatt to make our jobs safer.”
Read the full Hazard letter here and find out more from Hyatt Hurts here.
This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO on May 8, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the author: Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. He came to the AFL-CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety.