When you think of dangerous jobs, housekeeper doesn’t usually spring to mind. But it’s becoming a pretty hazardous profession, thanks to the “amenities arms race” that has big hotels installing luxury mattresses that weigh more than 100 pounds each, writes activist Donald Cohen in the LA Times. A recent report found that housekeepers currently have a lofty injury rate of 7.87 per 100 workers. To put that in perspective, the Department of Labor puts the rate for all workers at 3.4 per 100.
California lawmakers are considering a bill that would help by requiring hotels to use fitted sheets instead of flat ones, reducing the lifting housekeepers must do. The industry is claiming this is “job-killing” legislation—which, Cohen observes is, “the favorite label business lobbyists use to frighten politicians and the public from supporting laws that protect workers, consumers and the environment.” It’s absurd. Hotels replace their sheets every year anyway, “so isn’t this the price of normal operations? … The tourism industry will continue to grow and it will need healthy workers.”