The intense focus on COVID-19 protection has pulled the focus away from other Health and Safety responsibilities, including those related to ergonomics and preventing costly injuries. These need to remain a priority as it is the responsibility of every employer to protect employees from ergonomic risks, hazards, illnesses & injuries (OSHA: IIPP 3203 / MIPP 3345 / RMI 5110).
Returning Associates to work and hiring new essential workers amid COVID-19, is causing stress for both employers and employees with questions like these:
How can we safely reopen and stay open?
What procedures do we need to put into place or improve?
How can we ensure safe practices and safe behaviors are being followed, whether an Associate is making a bed or disinfecting a guest room?
How can we compensate for the cost and time to clean and disinfect guest rooms, restaurants, meeting rooms & more?
The cost to clean and disinfect hotel guest rooms and other surfaces and spaces has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic and new regulations. With the increasing number viruses in the world, these new procedures and protocols will last for years, if not forever.
Some hotels report a 50% increase in the time needed to clean a guest room, from 30 to 45 minutes. The choice for hoteliers is to raise room rates, clean fewer rooms per housekeeper or hire more employees.
The best way to offset these costs is to increase human efficiency around every task, and utilize the most effective disinfection solution on the market with the most efficient cleaning protocols.
Seconds quickly turn into minutes and minutes turn into hours, so every second counts.
Hoteliers and Associates are affected in different ways. Hotels need to manage resources in a balanced manner, one that protects the health and safety of their workforce, guests and the hotel's bottom-line. At the same time, Associates feel and react to the pressure to produce, whether stated or not.
The nature of all human beings is to take shortcuts and rush in order to complete a task or a guest room in a given time. These conditions are a set-up for costly injuries to occur, today and tomorrow. The average cost of each soft-tissue is $60,000 (OSHA).
The cost of maintaining a workforce is also rising.
This occurs in many interconnected areas, such as: turnover, hiring, training, absenteeism, morale, job satisfaction, Workers’ Compensation claims, and presenteeism - "Being on the clock, but not productive due to fatigue, pain or other health challenges."
Presenteeism alone costs more than $125,000 a year, for every 50 employees. Add this to the average cost of injuries and the loss is approximately $4.00 per hour, per employee. In a workforce with 100 employees that represents an "annual loss" of $800,000.00!
Increased stress, fatigue and at-risk/unsafe behaviors while performing tasks is proven to lead to increases in expensive Musculoskeletal Disorders (think backs, necks, shoulders, wrists and knee injuries).
If you want to be shocked, just ask Associates at your next meeting to raise their hands if they have experienced any back or shoulder pain in the last 30 days?
Every raised hand is a leading indicator of a future injury - a costly claim, legal fees and OSHA fines.
Hotels have a lot on their plate with reopening and hiring new Associates, and OSHA is not just looking at plans and reports. In addition to the fairly new regulations around the prevention of Hotel Musculoskeletal Injuries (T8 §3345 - aka the MIPP), which many hotels were struggling to fully comply with before the pandemic, OSHA is also one of the agencies in charge of enforcing COVID-19 regulations.