Occupational injury disparities in the US hotel industry


  • Work conducted while Joan Moriarty and Eric Frumin were at UNITE HERE.



Hotel employees have higher rates of occupational injury and sustain more severe injuries than most other service workers.


OSHA log incidents from five unionized hotel companies for a three-year period were analyzed to estimate injury rates by job, company, and demographic characteristics. Room cleaning work, known to be physically hazardous, was of particular concern.


A total of 2,865 injuries were reported during 55,327 worker-years of observation. The overall injury rate was 5.2 injuries per 100 worker-years. The rate was highest for housekeepers (7.9), Hispanic housekeepers (10.6), and about double in three companies versus two others. Acute trauma rates were highest in kitchen workers (4.0/100) and housekeepers (3.9/100); housekeepers also had the highest rate of musculoskeletal disorders (3.2/100). Age, being female or Hispanic, job title, and company were all independently associated with injury risk.


Sex- and ethnicity-based disparities in injury rates were only partially due to the type of job held and the company in which the work was performed. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:116–125 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.