Tag Archives: Injuries

California Proposes Hotel ‘Panic Button’ Bill To Protect Workers

Two California state lawmakers Wednesday introduced a bill that would require hotels to provide housekeepers with a “panic button” to prevent violent assaults and sexual harassment.

Assemblyhousekeeping cartman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, jointly introduced the so-called hotel maid “panic button” bill with Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward. If it gets passed, it would make California the first in the nation to have a statewide law requiring hotels to provide employees working alone in guest rooms with a panic button.

Also, the California bill would impose a three-year ban for any guest accused of violence or sexual harassment against an employee and keep a list of those accusations for five years.

 “Hotel workers often work alone, cleaning room after room — thus making them vulnerable to unwanted sexual advances and worse, victims of assault,” said Quirk. “I am proud to be working on this bill with Assemblymember Muratsuchi to not only raise awareness on the issue, but do more to create a safer working environment for hotel workers.”

The city of Seattle previously passed a ballot measure that requires employers to provide hotel housekeepers with panic buttons, and Chicago passed a similar measure last year. The city of Long Beach, California, considered a panic button ordinance too but rejected it late last year.

The proposed California legislation follows high-profile sexual assault and harassment charges lodged against high-profile people, including Oscar-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said it is considering possible criminal charges against Weinstein, who has been accused of sexually harassing or assaulting several women over the years. Weinstein, who has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex, also is under investigation by authorities in New York.

“As we’ve yet to see the bill in print, we wouldn’t have a position yet,” said Lynn Mohrfeld, a spokesperson for the California Hotel and Lodging Association, the industry’s state lobbying organization. “That said, the safety of guests and hotel employees is a top priority. While no industry is immune to dealing with sexual harassment as the headlines over recent weeks have shown, our industry has in place procedures and protocols for employees around reporting and prevention and these are continuously reviewed and updated.”

Click here to read entire article: CNBC

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Filed under Claims, Crime, Hotel Employees, Hotel Security, Workers' Compensation

California Adopts Housekeeping Injury Prevention Rule

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has adopted a new rule to help reduce injuries for hotel housekeepers.

Cal/OSHA’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved the rule in a 5-0 vote on Thursday.

The rule will require employers to establish, implement and maintain an effective written musculoskeletal injury prevention program that addresses hazards specific to housekeeping, according to Cal/OSHA.


“Hotel housekeepers are the invisible backbone of the hospitality industry,” Pamela Vossenas, New York-based director of worker safety and health for union Unite Here, said Friday in a statement. “Overwhelmingly women, immigrants and people of color, housekeepers face high rates of workplace injury. The state of California has recognized the seriousness of the dangers housekeepers face and took an important step to protect these workers.”

Lifting 100-pound mattresses and pushing heavy carts and vacuums can lead housekeepers to suffer strain, sprain and tear injuries that can require physical therapy or even lead to permanent disability, according to the union, which first petitioned Cal/OSHA to develop a standard to protect hospitality workers from injury in 2012.

Read entire article: Business Insurance

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Filed under Hotel Safety, OSHA, Safety, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Safety

California considering hotel housekeeper regulation

California’s state-run OSHA program has proposed a standard to prevent musculoskeletal injuries among hotel housekeepers. Read on to find out more about the effort and how long it’s been on the drawing board.

California osha housekeeping injury prevention

For years, advocates for hotel housekeepers have been pushing for a regulation to protect these workers, who are exposed to significant risks on the job. In January 2012, the union UNITE HERE filed a petition with the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) requesting the adoption of a standard to address a variety of hazards, including limiting the square footage that can be assigned to a worker during an eight-hour shift.

Read entire article at Safety.BLR


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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping, Injuries, OSHA, Risk Management, Workers' Compensation

Husband and wife cheated workers’ compensation

Tip: This is why it is important for hotels to request certificate of insurance from their vendors. 


Indicted for hiding the existence of 800 hotel workerslaw, justice

Hyok “Steven” Kwon and his wife, Woo Hui “Stephanie” Kwon, were sentenced to prison yesterday (March 15) for concocting and carrying out a complicated scheme to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums and employment taxes for their janitorial company, Irvine-based Good Neighbor Services. He was sentenced to eight years in custody and she got four years and eight months. Each has been ordered to pay $5 million restitution to insurance carriers and the California Employment Development Department.

They were indicted in December for hiding the existence of 800 hotel workers and thereby evading personnel-related taxes. At the time of the indictment, their caper was considered the largest insurance premium fraud in San Diego history.

Among the hotels serviced by the company were the Hotel Del Coronado, Grand Del Mar, La Costa Resort & Spa, Loews Coronado, and L’Auberge Del Mar.

See article at SanDiegoReader.com




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Filed under Hotel Industry, Injuries, Management And Ownership, Workers' Compensation

Keeping Your Employees Safe and Productive

Retaining talent is a universal business concern. It is especially important in the leisure and hospitality industry, which has the highest workforce turnover rate among private sector industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.(1)

When employees become injured or seriously ill as a result of their job it can affect temporary or long-term staffing in the workplace. For reference, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the hospitality and leisure industry experienced over 90,000 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in 2013 – fully ten percent of all recorded private industry incidents that year.(2)

When employees get injured on the job, not only are they unable to perform their duties, but business operations and employee morale can also be negatively impacted.

Work Injury reporting

An important step hotel managers can take to prevent and control work-related injuries or illnesses is to create a culture of safety in the workplace. This goes beyond taking precautions to prevent injuries from occurring, but also knowing how to respond quickly and appropriately in the event someone gets injured or becomes ill. It involves ensuring that employees receive the appropriate care they need to get well and also having plans in place to facilitate the employee’s transition back to work.

More on the article: http://bit.ly/2jAZqLt

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Human Resources, Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation

Infographic: How to Detect Bed Bugs


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Filed under Bed Bugs, Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Technology, Training

Reduce Workplace Injuries, Boost Productivity

High levels of customer satisfaction in the hospitality and leisure industries are critical to the success of any property. It is even more challenging to maintain customer satisfaction while reducing costs associated with employee injuries and the workers’ compensation claims. Employees are continually trained on the nuances of customer service skills and customer interactions in order to achieve the best levels of service. However, maintaining a high level of productivity is difficult when employees have been injured. Increasing injury rates result in higher workers’ compensation insurance, medical care, and claim costs.

Taking a look at the causes of work-related injuries, implementing standardized work practices, and making simple changes can yield a significant decrease in injury risk and an increase in productivity. A single property within a national hotel chain has been able to decrease its workers’ compensation costs by $500,000 in the first year while improving its customer satisfaction ratings.

Within the U.S. hospitality and leisure industry, food services and accommodations employees represent 12.9 million of the 15 million employees. In 2014, the recordable injury rate among these employees was 3.6 injuries per 100 full-time employees. These injury rates can be higher among employees in departments such as housekeeping and banquet operations. One study indicated that up to 95 percent of the housekeepers indicated they experienced severe to very severe physical pain.

Any effective ergonomics and process improvement program should include aspects such as management support, employee involvement, training, problem identification, early reporting of injury symptoms, evaluation of hazard controls, implementation of hazard controls, and evaluation of progress.


Effective administration and implementation of each aspect is important, but knowing which changes will bring the most improvement in productivity and injury reduction can make a big difference.


Let’s take a look at housekeeping: Their work ensures proper cleaning as well as maintaining the visual standards of the brand. Over the past decade, consumers’ expectations of luxury as it relates to hotel rooms have increased. Furnishings are more luxurious and often include thicker mattresses, plush duvets, decorative bed skirts, and the inclusion of a variety of pillows.

In an effort to reduce injury risk while maintaining or improving customer satisfaction within a housekeeping department, we reviewed common tasks and identified the tasks that were most likely to cause injury. A detailed study was conducted of these common housekeeping tasks, such as cleaning bathrooms, changing and making beds, and removing trash and soiled linen. The evaluations determined the extent of injury risk factors and opportunities to improve the quality of the services performed. After the analysis, recommendations were made related to the selection of appropriate tools, the modification of techniques for cleaning showers and bath tubs to decrease awkward postures and minimize forces, and the identification of methods to minimize awkward postures and forces while changing beds and handling trash and dirty linens. One key factor in the success of these changes was training the employees in the appropriate methods, injury risk factors, and the proper use of tools. The changes made within the housekeeping department decreased duvet-making time by 32 percent while maintaining a standard look; reduced the number of awkward shoulder postures by 72 percent; and reduced the number of awkward back postures by 45 percent. Guests indicated an improvement by a 5 percent increase in customer cleanliness ratings.

Another department that commonly experiences a high number of injuries is the banquet operations department. Within the banquets area, server and setup tasks were also evaluated. Following similar principles, tasks were identified that had previously caused injury or were difficult to perform. Evaluations were again conducted and recommendations were made. These recommendations involved working with vendors to identify the changes to carts that could make the most impact on decreasing push/pull forces while not decreasing the load on the carts. Additionally, standardized methods of room setup and table movement were established. These simple changes and employee training yielded a decrease in injury risk, improved employee morale, and increased efficiency.

Maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction while minimizing employee injuries and workers’ compensation costs in hospitality and leisure industry is critical to the success of any property. Evaluation of tasks by a qualified professional (such as a certified professional ergonomist) can ensure that risk factors are appropriately identified and that the recommendations will adequately reduce injury risk. Minimizing costs, reducing injuries, improving efficiency, and improving customer satisfaction ratings are benefits of a successful ergonomics and process improvement program.

For more: http://bit.ly/1SaVAye

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Filed under Claims, Employee Benefits, Employee Practices, Health, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Injuries, Insurance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training

New Robotic Exoskeleton Technology is Here From Panasonic

Mobility may be one of the most important elements in maintaining personal autonomy. And now, thanks to the incredible technology behind robotic exoskeletons, the elderly, the injured, and many others can experience mobility like never before. In a new video, Panasonic unveils its latest achievements in the robotics field, applying advanced control and sensor technologies to create a motor-equipped robot that will assist with human body mechanics.

Panasonic has developed a pair of suits — one meant primarily for industrial purposes, and another to help the disabled. The power assist suits will help users perform manual labor and potentially dangerous tasks in a range of worksites, and Hiromichi Fujimoto, president of Activelink Co. (one of Panasonic’s in-house venture companies) noted, “We are proposing robotics to help at these worksites, because there will always be a certain level of work that must be done by people, and these power assist suits can help reduce the physical strain during such work.”

To help with lifting and carrying heavy loads, Panasonic has introduced the AWN-03, an assist suit designed specifically to provide lower back support. By sensing the wearer’s motion when lifting or holding heavy objects, the suit sends a signal to its motors to jump into action. By raising the user’s upper body while simultaneously pushing on their thighs, the suit promises to reduce stress on the lower back by 15 kg.


There are also two additional suits that could be used in industrial settings — the PLN-01 (the “Ninja”) is meant to help the user’s motion while walking and running, whereas the Power Loader is heralded as a powerful suit perfect for use during disaster relief, construction, and public works.

On the other end of the spectrum, Panasonic has unveiled suits meant for the elderly. “As Japan has becomes an aging society, Panasonic is aspiring to make its contribution by supporting the elderly and their families lead a comfortable life full of smiling faces and laughter” explained Hitoshi Sasaki, assistant director of Sincere Kourien, an elderly care facility run by Panasonic Age-Free. “There are many instances that can be straining to both caregivers and care recipients. Just moving from the bed to a wheelchair can be a very energy consuming for both parties.”

For more: http://bit.ly/1UGTjAW

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Filed under Claims, Employee Practices, Health, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Injuries, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Technology, Workers' Compensation

Couple From CA Describes Bedbugs ‘Nightmare’ at NYC Hotel


A couple from California thought they were on a dream vacation to New York City, but they found a massive bedbug infestation under the mattress at the Astor on the Park Hotel on the Upper West Side.

Now, they’re speaking out only to Eyewitness News.

The trip was a gift from Elgin Ozlen’s mother, and the couple was supposed to take in the sights and sounds of the city, and see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. However, because of the bedbugs, Ozlen says it will be a trip that he and his girlfriend will remember for all the wrong reasons.

“We were expecting a vacation to remember the rest of our lives, and we will definitely remember it for the rest of our lives, but it won’t be a pleasant memory,” says Ozlen.

After staying in a hotel room infested with bedbugs, the dream vacation immediately turned into a nightmare.

Ozlen says he shot video of the infestation, while staying at Astor on the Park on Central Park West. The couple arrived on Wednesday, and by Thursday, there was an infestation of bedbugs where Ozlen’s girlfriend slept. Ozlen then goes on to say that the room was the third room the couple had been in, after the first two did not have heaters.

The California man says they had planned to be in Times Square to see the ball drop, but that never happened. Also, on New Year’s Day, his birthday, they had tickets to see the Rockettes, but instead there was a change of plans.

“On my birthday, I’m in the hospital, and I’m washing the best clothes that I brought that I own for this vacation, and during that process many of the clothes became damaged, because they’re not meant to be dried,” Ozlen says.

It cost hundreds of dollars to have the couple’s belongings cleaned. Meanwhile Ozlen says his girlfriend’s body is still inflamed, saying she is furious that the bites and scratches may lead to permanent scarring.

He also says she can’t eat because she is nauseous, but she is not the only one.

“It’s disgusting. I don’t really feel like sleeping here,” said one hotel guest.

Katie Phillips, a tourist from Australia has been staying at Astor on the Park for a week, and says her stay has been ‘near perfect’ – a clean room with no complaints. After seeing the bedbugs video, she says it was ‘pretty disturbing’.

For more: http://abc13.co/21019nM

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Filed under Bed Bugs, Guest Issues, Health, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

El Nino Property Preparedness Checklist


el nino

1. Property Ground Keeping: Make a general inspection of your entire yard area for dead trees or dead limbs, yard debris, outdoor furniture, or other objects that could be blown by El Nino storm winds. An afternoon spent tidying up the yard and either storing furniture and other loose items indoors or securing them can prevent a frantic scramble to collect items that have landed on your roof or in your neighbors’ yards.

2. Drains and Gutters: Make sure all drains and gutters are cleared of debris and functioning properly before the storm season. If buildings do not have gutters and drains, consider having them installed. Storm water runoff from impermeable sufaces (e.g., roofs, driveways, and patios) should be directed into a collection system to avoid soil saturation.

3. Roofs: Inspect your roof, or hire a roofing contractor, to check for loose tiles, holes, or other signs of wear and tear.

4. Retaining Walls: Visually inspect all retaining wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.

5. Slopes: Visually inspect all sloped areas for signs of gullying, surface cracks, slumping etc. Also inspect patios, retaining walls, garden walls, etc. for signs of cracking or rotation. Such signs might be indications of slope movement and if you notice any problems, it would be prudent to have the site inspected by a geotechnical engineer, especially in California fire areas.

6. Storm Drains: Visually inspect nearby storm drains, before the storm season and after every rain; if the storm drains are obstructed, clear the material from the drain or notify the Department of Public Works or public agency responsible for drain maintenance.

7. Follow-up and Other Concerns: If, after taking prudent steps to prepare your property for winter storms, you still have some concerns about slope stability, flooding, mudflows, etc., consider stockpiling sandbags and plastic sheeting. The sandbags can be stacked to form a barrier to keep water from flooding low areas. Plastic sheeting and visqueen can be placed on slopes and secured with sand bags to prevent water from eroding the soil.

8. First Responders: Establish a relationship with a professional restoration company ahead of time. During a storm, restoration companies will be busy. If they know you already, there is a stronger chance you will be placed at the top of the list. Your corporate office may already have a list of vetted companies to call.

For more: http://bit.ly/1N9LlaP

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Filed under Flood Insurance, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Risk Management