Hyatt back under fire



Workers and community members staged a protest at the Hyatt last year with the help of Unite Here.
  • Keelee Hurlburt
  • Workers and community members staged a protest at the Hyatt last year with the help of Unite Here.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (IOSHA) has cited Indianapolis' most notorious hotel for a number of glaring health and safety violations, following complaints by housekeepers in November of last year.

The Hyatt Regency Indianpolis and its subcontractor Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) have been slapped with safety orders and proposed fines that total more than $50,000 between the two companies.

According to a press release circulated Tuesday by the city's chapter of national labor union Unite Here!:

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.

The release continues:

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.

According to a study published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, housekeepers working at Hyatt locations had the highest injury rate in a group of 50 U.S. hotels operated by the top five hotel companies.

The Chicago Area Committee on Occupational Safety and Health assisted the Hyatt employees who lodged the complaints triggering the inspections.


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