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Female Hotel Workers Injured More Than Men, Study Shows

Female housekeepers making the bed in a hotel room

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By Neal B. Strom & Associates, Ltd. of Strom & Associates, Ltd. posted in Workers’ Compensation on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

This is an interesting article from New America Media. The full article can be seen here: http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=b3283dc322df1e9ad9038bc65b44567b

A new study of workers at 50 hotels in the United States found that women were 50 percent more likely to be injured than men, and that Hispanic women had an injury rate two-thirds higher than their white female counterparts.

The study, which will be published in January in The American Journal of Industrial Medicine, said the injury rate was higher for female hotel employees because they worked disproportionately as housekeepers, which is the most injury-prone hotel job.

According to the study, housekeepers have a 7.9 percent injury rate each year, 50 percent higher than for all hotel workers and twice the rate for all workers in the United States.

Other academic studies have concluded that housekeepers have a high injury rate because they do repetitive tasks, lift heavy mattresses and work rapidly to clean a dozen or more rooms.

The study found that Hispanic housekeepers had the highest injury rate – 10.6 percent a year – compared with 6.3 percent for white housekeepers, 5.5 for black housekeepers and 7.3 percent for Asian housekeepers.

The study did not speculate why the injury rate was so much higher for Hispanic housekeepers, but several experts said the reasons could include their smaller stature or that managers gave them heavier workloads.
Hispanic and Asian men were 1.5 times more likely to be injured than white men, the study found. Men disproportionately hold hotel jobs as banquet servers, cooks and dishwashers.

“These alarming results raise many questions as to why injury rates are so high for women, and Hispanic and Asian workers in the hotel sector,” said, Dr. Susan Buchanan, lead author of the article and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

The study, “Occupational Injury Disparities in the U.S. Hotel Industry,” was first presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Philadelphia. The study focused on 50 unionized properties and examined 2,865 injuries over a three-year span.

The study found the highest injury rate for housekeepers was at the Hyatt chain, at 10.4 percent, and lowest at the Hilton chain, at 5.47 percent, for housekeepers. Hyatt did not respond to inquiries about its injury rate.

“This study is stunning evidence of the unequal impact of injuries in the hotel industry, and it calls into question whether discriminatory workplace practices play a role,” said John W. Wilhelm, president of Unite Here, the union representing hotel workers.

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