Indianapolis, IN – Following months of investigation, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) has issued the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis and its subcontractor Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) safety orders with proposed fines totaling more than $50,000 between both companies. The safety orders are the result of investigations following injury complaints lodged by Hyatt housekeepers in November 2010.
Two "serious" safety orders issued to Hyatt include allegedly failing to train HSS subcontracted workers on chemical hazards and on bloodborne pathogens such as blood, needles and other potentially infectious materials that housekeepers had potential exposure to as part of their regular duties. According to OSHA, "a serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known." IOSHA also cited the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis alleging that it failed to record illnesses and injuries on OSHA forms of HSS subcontracted workers who suffered recordable injuries while working at the Hyatt. Proposed penalties for safety orders issued to Hyatt total $4,400.
IOSHA issued a "knowing" safety order, the highest level safety order that Indiana OSHA issues with a more severe proposed penalty of $40,000 to HSS alleging that it failed to turn over injury records and delayed in providing other injury files despite repeated requests. IOSHA has described ‘knowing’ safety orders in the past as the most serious safety violations possible by an employer. Serious citations were issued to HSS alleging that it failed to train its employees on chemical and bloodborne pathogen hazards and other recordkeeping irregularities. Additional proposed fines bring the total for HSS to $49,900. The orders and proposed fines become final unless Hyatt and HSS seek administrative review within 15 working days to challenge them.
"By relying on subcontractors like HSS to staff housekeeping, Hyatt has been able to circumvent its responsibility to provide basic workplace protections for housekeepers that all workers are entitled to under the law," says Marquita Walker, a Labor Studies professor at IUPUI. "In Indianapolis, the multi-billion-dollar Hyatt Corporation is leading the industry in an outsourcing trend that takes advantage of primarily immigrant workers and erodes the quality of jobs for hospitality workers in the region."