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Occupational Injury Disparities Factors

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Discuss about the Occupational Injury Disparities Factors.


Profile and Characteristics of Hotel cleaners

The profile and characteristics of Hotel cleaners is related with the cleaning job that include cleaning the rooms of guests, the common corridor, hallways and others areas in the hotel campus used by the guests. The Job responsibility of Hotel cleaners can be related with the specific tasks such as changing bed sheets and towels in the guest rooms, preparing the beds, wastebaskets cleaning, dusting and polishing room furniture and furnishing, scrubbing sinks and basins, toilets and bathtubs, mopping and washing bathrooms floors, replenishing supplies, vacuuming floors and pushing heavy supply carts (Powell, & Watson, 2006). The hotel cleaners is also at times suppose to handle customer service skills in case some guest request certain services thereby contributing to the total satisfaction of the guest.

On the other hand an employee working in the front office of a hotel caters the guest at the reception. The job responsibility of an employee working in the front office of a hotel include maintaining the front desk with all proper materials (forms, register, pens and papers), welcome guests by greeting them, attending to their queries, respond to all incoming phone calls and redirecting them to guest room or managers if needed, checking, sorting and forwarding emails, prepare outgoing mails, receive letters, packages and distribute them to the concerned department or person, monitor office costs and expenses and making travel arrangement for guests (Powell, & Watson, 2006). The four realistic comparisons include

House Cleaner

Front office staff

Taking care of the room.

Taking care of the Guests.

All activities related with room cleaning.

All activities related with customer service.

House cleaner contribute to overall satisfaction of guests.

Front office staff contributes to increasing the booking.

Take instruction from Front office staff

Give instruction to House cleaner

Characterise hotel job conditions for hotel cleaners

The hotel job condition for hotel cleaners is characterised by 8 hours shifts for full time cleaner and they work five days/week. The majority of worker involved in cleaning job comprise of women and immigrants from developing and under developed countries and they have minimal education. A house cleaner is expected to clean 12 to 16 rooms during the eight hour shift and it provides 30 min to complete the cleaning of a single room (Krause, et al., 2012). If guest make a late check –out or dirty the rooms extremely it delays the work schedule resulting in overtime or long working hour for the house cleaner. Generally the job of house cleaner depends on the occupancy rooms of hotels and owing to fluctuation, many hotels opt for part time job, seasonal job or variable job. This makes many house cleaner take up more than one job to survive.

Though the job of house cleaner makes significant contribution to the level of guest satisfaction, the people working in house cleaning get the lowest remuneration. In fact the payment received by house cleaner has no comparison to other position in the hotel on reasonable ground though it is slightly higher than the minimum wage (Krause, et al., 2012). Thus it can be stated that the job conditions for hotel cleaners is poor.

Major work hazards that are generally encountered by hotel cleaners          

In the course of their work, House cleaners are subjected to critical hazards related with their occupation. According to a research of staff record related with thousands of injuries it is found that the rate of injuries encountered by house cleaners stands at 10.4% compared to 5.6% for other position (Buchanan, et al., 2010). The various hazards encountered by hotel cleaners can be classified into physical, psychosocial, chemical and biological hazard.

The job of house cleaner includes repetitive body movements like pushing lifting, lowering, and rotating mattresses, carrying, tucking and folding linen, pulling pillowcases, stretching and bending and handling supply trolleys and equipment.  According to report published by Canadian centre for occupational safety and health it was found that the house cleaner while cleaning a room changes body position 3 seconds (Buchanan, et al., 2010). Thus house cleaner change postures 8000 times considering the average cleaning time to be 25 min for a room. The physical hazards get enhanced by cleaning equipment designed poorly in terms of ergonomics.

Psychosocial hazards are related with mental condition like stress, pressures and bullying that can have negative impact on the health and well being of the house cleaner. The stress in the workplace happens if the task goes beyond the capability of the house cleaner (Lee, & Krause, 2002). The adverse working condition for prolonged period impacts the physical and mental health.

In the process of rendering their jobs, the house cleaner is exposed to chemicals such as ammonia and solvents that can result in skin, nose, eyes and throat irritation, apart from dermatitis (Lee, & Krause, 2002). The major risk related with chemical hazard is carcinogenic responsible for respiratory diseases.

Biological hazard

The biological hazards are related with risk of hotel cleansers coming in contact with the broken glassware, hypodermic needles and medical waste, human excreta, microbial contaminants and contaminated waste (Krause, Scherzer, & Rugulies, 2005). It results in infectious disease like hepatitis and HIV.


Four ways of dealing with the hazards identified

All the four hazards namely physical, psychosocial, chemical and biological hazards impact the physical and mental health of the house cleaner and needs to be addressed for the better health (Krause, Scherzer, & Rugulies, 2005). The four ways of dealing with the hazards identified are explained below          

Type of Hazards

Ways of dealing with the hazards

Physical Hazards




·       Safety training to house cleaner to promote work practice.

·       Promoting ergonomic equipment in the hotel (Burgel, et al., 2010).


Psychological Hazards

·       Controlling bullying, harassment and violence at workplace and improving the confidence by care.

·       Training to address stress at workplace.

Chemical Hazards

·       Better precaution such as mask and gloves while cleaning products.

·       Training about the hazardous chemical and mixing of chemicals (Burgel, et al., 2010).


Biological Hazards

·       Instructing the guest to dispose broken glassware, hypodermic needles and contaminated wastes at proper place.

·       Proper discharge of human excreta and microbial contaminants.

Three realistic strategies for recruiting and retaining room attendants          

Recruiting and retaining room attendants (house cleaner) is important activities of the HR manager of the hotel (Oxenbridge & Moensted, 2011). The three realistic strategies for recruiting and retaining room attendants are explained below.

  • The first step in recruitment is design the job profile and job responsibility of room attendants clearly. This will help the HR to attract the right people with right skill to be selected for the job. It also avoids conflict in relation to the job profile. The selection process should be able to recruit the right people and they should be given the required training to conduct their job effectively (Oxenbridge & Moensted, 2011).
  • It is observed that most of workers quit job due to differences with the supervisors rather than the company so it is essential to train the supervisor to handle the room attendant with care. The supervisor should motivate the room attendant by supporting by taking care of their problems (Enz, & Siguaw, 2000). The house cleaners survey to get their feedback and address the issues faced by the room attendant to retain the staff.
  • The third and final strategy is though the room attendant job is a low profile job but it should be seen that they are not underpaid. It also helps to attract the right people. The work condition should be made conducive in terms of workplace hazards so that the room attendant can be retained (Enz, & Siguaw, 2000).

Organizational structure and duties of house cleaner in large hotel compared to small hotels

In context to large hotels the organization structure is complex with different levels of hierarchy. The house cleaner has direct reporting to assigned supervisor in the same department along with the reporting to higher Management (Tavitiyaman, Qiu & Qu, 2012). Thus there is defined hierarchy where each one conducts the assigned duties. The house cleaner executes the job as defined at the time of recruitment according to the pre decided job profile. On the other hand in small hotels, the organization structure is simple and there is not many levels. The liability of house cleaner is limited to the supervisor. The duties undertaken by house cleaner in small hotels is varied including job not mentioned at the time of recruitment and selection (Tavitiyaman, Qiu & Qu, 2012).

From the two figures related with the organizational structure of large hotel and small above it is evident that the large hotel has different levels starting with the executive housekeeper, assistant housekeeper, functional supervisor such as floor, desk, public area, linen and uniform room supervisor, room attendants, runner, house cleaner, public area attendants, cloak room attendants, public attendants and linen room attendant (Kim, Shin, & Umbreit, 2007). On the other hand the organizational structure of small hotel has few levels as mentioned in the figure. Thus it can be stated that large hotels has well defined structure and duties designed for the house cleaner while the small hotels has no well defined structure and duties designed for the house cleaner. In addition large hotel will implement safety training and ergonomic training to address the four hazards namely physical, psychosocial, chemical and biological hazards. But both large and small hotel has to handle the house cleaner properly for satisfying the guests (Kim, Shin, & Umbreit, 2007).



Buchanan, S., Vossenas, P., Krause, N., Moriarty, J., Frumin, E., Shimek, J. A. M., ... & Punnett, L. (2010). Occupational injury disparities in the US hotel industry. American journal of industrial medicine, 53(2), 116-125.

Burgel, B. J., White, M. C., Gillen, M., & Krause, N. (2010). Psychosocial work factors and shoulder pain in hotel room cleaners. American journal of industrial medicine, 53(7), 743-756.

Enz, C. A., & Siguaw, J. A. (2000). Best practices in human resources. The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 41(1), 48-61.

Kim, H. J., Shin, K. H., & Umbreit, W. T. (2007). Hotel job burnout: The role of personality characteristics. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 26(2), 421-434.

Krause, N., Lee, P. T., Scherzer, T., Rugulies, R., Sinnott, P. L., & Baker, R. L. (2002). Health and working conditions of hotel guest room attendants in Las Vegas. An epidemiological investigation.

Krause, N., Scherzer, T., & Rugulies, R. (2005). Physical workload, work intensification, and prevalence of pain in low wage workers: results from a participatory research project with hotel room cleaners in Las Vegas. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 48(5), 326-337.

Lee, P. T., & Krause, N. (2002). The impact of a worker health study on working conditions. Journal of Public Health Policy, 23(3), 268-285.

Oxenbridge, S., & Moensted, M. (2011). Working conditions and the health and safety of room attendants in luxury hotels.

Powell, P. H., & Watson, D. (2006). Service unseen: The hotel room attendant at work. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 25(2), 297-312.

Tavitiyaman, P., Qiu Zhang, H., & Qu, H. (2012). The effect of competitive strategies and organizational structure on hotel performance. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 24(1), 140-159.


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