Effective housekeeping can help control and even eliminate potential workplace hazards to ensure safety throughout the working day. Housekeeping is a physically demanding job, especially if you don’t have the right tools, practices or equipment.
Take a look at the risks associated with housekeeping and how you can avoid them.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Exposure to Chemicals
Slips and trips
1. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)
Something to consider is the risk of possible repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) in housekeeping. For example, the heavy physical workload and excessive bodily motions mean a high risk of back injuries.
Housekeeping staff are often faced with space limitations on a daily basis which means you’ll have to manoeuvre with uncomfortable positions such as:
- Crouching or kneeling to clean under beds and furniture.
- Stretching and reaching to dust and wipe down higher surfaces.
- Twisting and bending to clean the bathroom facilities.
Housekeeping is a physically demanding job and RSIs could strike at any moment. Here are some tips on how to avoid these injuries:
- Learn and use safe lifting techniques to avoid strain and injury.
- Use long-handled tools such as dusters and mops to avoid excessive stretching and crouching.
- Using lighter service carts with wheels designed for carpeted floors make moving around the hotel easier.
2. Exposure to Chemicals
Housekeepers will typically use a form of chemical in their daily routine. Different hotels may have certain brands or products in their arsenal, some harsher than others.
However, at the heart of these products (even natural products such as bicarbonate of soda), there’s a chemical reaction to consider.
Cleaning products can cause potential health problems if they’re not used and stored correctly. This can include:
- Skin and eye irritation.
- Reaction to water or other solutions if not correctly diluted.
- Fumes released by the chemicals can cause respiratory issues.
An important thing to remember is that not all chemicals are in liquid form. Gas fumes and powders can be equally deadly. Here are some tips on how to avoid misconduct with chemicals:
- Regular training and updated procedures.
- Consider the ventilation in an area that a cleaning product is being used.
- Store them out of reach of guests and make sure the lids are kept on tightly.
- Regularly wash hands to prevent chemicals being transferred to other surfaces or skin.
- Ensure the correct labelling of chemicals.
- If a spill occurs, how you deal with it should be a universal practice throughout the team.
- You should have a clear protocol for accidents.
3. Slips and Trips
While a clean and tidy environment is of utmost importance in a hectic hotel, being safe while doing so is crucial. Slips, trips and falls are a common culprit for injuries in many job roles but as a housekeeper, you’re susceptible to a wide range of trip and slip possibilities.
Additionally, to lessen the risk of a trip occurring, it’s important to store wires away from equipment correctly. Keeping cords out of high traffic areas will protect guests as well as other members of the housekeeping team.
Another factor to consider is that wet floors are inevitable when you’re a housekeeper in a hotel. Places like the reception should be cleaned at an off-peak time to reduce the chance of an accident.
It’s important to remember to put up wet floor signs but you also need to keep in mind that as a housekeeper, you’ll be moving across a variety of floor surfaces. This can increase the chance of slips, trips and falls.
To ensure you’re prepared for any spill or surface, it’s best practice to have slip-resistant shoes that will assist you in your role.
Karina is a practical slip-on shoe designed for comfort and safety. With slip-resistant Flex Tread technology you can be confident in navigating around the hotel as a housekeeper.
For men, Condor is a multi-tasking shoe that looks stylish and keeps you safe at work. It features a cushioned insole and a wider heel, providing comfort and added traction where you’ll need it most.
4. Damaged Electrics
It's best practice to perform regular checks, such as every week, to ensure all electricals are in working order. To do so safely, however, you'll need to be correctly trained.
One good idea is to make checking for frayed wires, loose plugs and blown light bulbs part of your routine. For example, check while you clean the guests' rooms and the rest of the hotel. Not only for the guests' benefit but also because navigating the hotel with poor lighting can open the opportunity for accidents.
Improve Your Hotel Guest's Enjoyment...
No other hotel employee has as much access to hotel rooms and facilities as much as the housekeeping department. You see the guests on a daily basis and can gauge their enjoyment or disappointment of their stay.
Keep an eye out for any areas your hotel can improve and live up to your potential. Download our free guide to help you spot some areas to improve on and take your guests stay from good to great.