Musculoskeletal disorders refer to injuries of the muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues in the back, neck, shoulders, wrists and knees. Housekeepers report much higher MSDs than the average employee, due to the type of work they perform, the repetition and duration of the type of work performed, and the time limits placed on them to perform the jobs they are assigned. Any employee who is tasked with lifting, stocking shelves or cleaning should adhere to the following safety guidelines in order to prevent MSDs from occurring.
- Hotel employees are always expected to be efficient in their working habits.
- It is important to keep your manager informed of any issues that may result in missing a time limit deadline.
- Remember to always ask for help if time is an issue and you feel you are unable to complete the task by yourself.
- In order to prevent a twisting and lifting maneuver when stocking shelves, you must be sure to be fully “squared off” when lifting the supplies up and then turn to be fully “squared off” with the shelves you are placing the supplies on. “Squared off” indicates a stand where the feet and upper body are fully facing the item to be lifted or placed.
- No items should be lifted if they are too heavy for the person stocking the shelves. The employee should either get assistance from another staff member or lift the items in smaller sections.
- No items should be placed on shelves that are higher than shoulder height.
Stocking and Pushing Carts:
- Overstocked, disorganized carts being pushed for a longer, sustained duration and over uneven surfaces are all high contributors to MSD injuries.
- No extra supplies should be placed on top of the cart.
- Every effort should be made to complete assignments (Daily Room Assignments, PMs and DCPMs) in order of room number so as to reduce prolonged, continuous pushing of the cart throughout the day.
- Dirty linen and trash should not be overloaded, but should be pulled from the cart regularly throughout the day.
- Cart rooms should be stocked daily to allow housekeepers to replenish supplies frequently and without having to return to the house laundry room for multiple re-stocking.
- Housekeepers who are shorter or whose halls are uneven, or who feel they need to, should be allowed by management to stock less and have easy access to linen cart rooms for frequent re-stocking throughout the day.
Making a Bed
- When removing dirty linen from a bed, the cover or duvet should be pulled from the bed first. Each layer of sheet should be pulled to the center of the bed separately from each other.
- Bottom sheets must be fitted, not flat and must be the correct size and pocket depth for the beds.
- Pillow cases must not be too small for the pillows.
- Sheets, duvets, or spreads should be placed on the bed and unfolded from the center. These should never be lifted and shaken to make proper placement.
- When lifting the mattress to tuck the sheets, the housekeeper should be facing the section of the mattress to be lifted, with both feet facing the section also.
- No single employee should flip a mattress. If a mattress needs to be flipped, the employee should obtain the help of one other staff member.
High Dusting and High Cleaning
- Dusters and shower cleaners with extensions should be provided to each housekeeper and houseman.
- No employee should climb or stand on furniture or be required to reach excessively to perform high dusting.
- No employee should stand on the edge of a tub, toilet, or vanity to perform high-cleaning or high-dusting.
- A swivel-head floor mop should be provided to each housekeeper so that they do not have to be on their hands and knees to clean floors.
- Floors should be cleaned after the entire area is cleaned and from the back of the room to the front, so that no employee is walking over wet surfaces. This method will prevent any dangers of slipping on wet surfaces.
If, at any time, an employee feels as if he/she may have had a work-related injury, he/she must report it to a member of management before clocking out that day, regardless of whether he/she wishes to seek immediate medical attention. A workers compensation File Only or Full Claim should be reported every time a possible injury has been reported.
This blog is part of a series of Safety Reviews available to all Coba CMMS © customers.