New Study Reports High Injury Rates for Hotel Workers, Even Higher Rates for Women and Nonwhites

Friday, August 31, 2007 General News
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NEW YORK, Aug. 30 A new study released onMonday, August 27, 2007 at PREMUS -- the Sixth International ScientificConference on Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders, held inBoston, highlights the differences in injury rates by gender, race/ethnicityor both. Dr. Susan Buchanan, University of Illinois at Chicago School ofPublic Health, presented the alarming results that raise many questions as towhy certain workers are getting injured at different rates. PREMUS is aprestigious academic conference, gathering researchers from around the worldwith the goal of preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

This first study ever on the differences in injury rates by race,ethnicity and gender of hotel workers in the United States utilized hotelemployer records of work-related injuries and employee hiring list data. Thisis the largest study of hotel workers' injuries ever performed in the UnitedStates aside from data that the Department of Labor collects annually.

A sample of 35 union hotels in the "full-service" sector was selected forfurther study of disparities in injury rates by gender and race/ethnicity.This sample includes 16,000 workers employed annually with over 700 injuriesoccurring each year during the 2003-2005 time period.

Along with scientific studies that show dangers to housekeepers fromluxury rooms, bedding and amenities, this study looks at a variety of jobs inhotels and asks a more global question of employers -- why are injury rates ofwomen hotel workers, workers of color and immigrant workers higher than therates for all workers? And more importantly, what are hotel employers going todo about it?

According to Dr. Lida Orta-Anes, ergonomics expert and professor at theGraduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, "This study is afirst step towards identifying who, today is doing hotel work in the UnitedStates and who is getting injured on the job. The higher injury rates forwomen across all jobs and for Hispanics in specific jobs is alarming. Moreresearch is needed to get at the root of these injuries and difference inrates of injury."

Researchers also asked hotel employers to evaluate hazards of hotel jobs,implement existing remedies and face the challenges they have created in thehotel industry affecting workers' health and safety, and in particular thedisparities in injury rates.

For more information about the study and other key fidings, please visit To arrange aninterview with a hotel worker or a member of the research team, please contactAmanda Cooper (212-332-9376 or or Pamela Vossenas (646-305-7304 or Findings: -- The job titles included in this new injury study -- room attendants, stewards/dishwashers, banquet servers and cooks/kitchen workers -- represent 49% of the hotel workforce; therefore, these study findings require serious attention given the large number of workers affected in the hotel industry. -- Disparities by gender: injury rates of 5.5% for females compared to 3.7% for males. -- Disparities by race/ethnicity: injury rates of 4.9% for nonwhites compared to 3.0% for whites, with even higher rates by demographic subgroups. -- The combination of increased risk by gender with the increased risk by race/ethnicity suggests an even greater increased risk for women of color: Female Hispanic Stewards/Dishwashers: 10.0% Female Hispanic Room Attendants: 9.5% Female Asian Cooks: 8.9% Female Hispanic Banquet Servers: 3.9% Female Black Hotel Workers: 3.8% Importance of the Findings


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