Protecting Against Employee Injury
Following years of evaluation, on March 9, 2018, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved a standard on “Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.” The Office of Administrative Law approved the new regulation that will require hotels and other lodging establishments (i.e. resort, bed and breakfast) to implement new requirements to protect employees who perform housekeeping tasks from any “musculoskeletal injury.”
The mission of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, is to protect and improve the health and safety of working men and women in California and the safety of passengers riding on elevators, amusement rides, and tramways. Cal/OSHA works to achieve its mission by setting and enforcing standards; providing outreach, education, and assistance; and issuing permits, licenses, and certifications.
To provide proper guidance to California employers, Cal/OSHA included several key definitions in its most recent regulation:
- Musculoskeletal Injury is defined as “acute injury or cumulative trauma of a muscle, tendon, ligament, bursa, peripheral nerve, joint, bone, spinal disc or blood vessel.”
- Lodging Establishments is defined as establishments that contain sleeping room accommodations that are rented or otherwise provided to the public, such as hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfast inns.
- Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program, or MIPP, is a written program that addresses hazards specific to housekeeping. The standard specifies that the MIPP may be incorporated into an existing injury and illness prevention program (IIPP) or maintained as a separate program, and must be readily accessible each work shift to employees (including electronic access).
Under the new rules California hotel and other lodging establishments industry employers will be required to update their written Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) to incorporate the following:
- Must have a Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP) in addition to the IIPP. The MIPP may be a standalone policy or incorporated into the IIPP.
- The MIPP must be “readily accessible” to employees to review during their work shift. An electronic copy is sufficient if there are “no barriers to employee access” as a result. No such requirement exists for IIPPs.
- By October 1, 2018, effected employers must complete an initial worksite evaluation to identify and address potential injury risks to housekeepers. This worksite evaluation as well as subsequent evaluations (at least annually) “shall include an effective means of involving housekeepers and their union representative in designing and conducting the worksite evaluation.”
- The MIPP's procedures for investigating musculoskeletal injuries to a housekeeper must allow for input from the housekeeper's union representative as to whether any measures, procedures, or tools would have prevented the injury.
- Records of worksite evaluations and other records required by the MIPP must be made available to a Cal/OSHA inspector within 72 hours of a request. There is no 72-hour deadline under the IIPP regulation.
Important Takeaways for California Employers
The final regulation becomes effective July 1, 2018. However, California hotel and other lodging establishments industry employers now have until October 1, 2018, to roll-out their Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Programs. These MIPPs must be compliant according to Cal/OSHA inspectors, including the ability to provide records of worksite evaluations and other records required by the MIPP to Cal/OSHA within 72 hours of a request.
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