MSK Industry Guide

How the Hospitality Industry is Tackling High Musculoskeletal Spend

On average, 1 out of 2 of your employees has an MSK disorder, including chronic back or joint pain. It should come as no surprise that these employees are costlier and less productive than their counterparts without chronic pain. So, as MSK costs continue to rise, many employers are left to search for potential solutions. However, this process has become overly complicated, time-consuming, and frustrating. Based on the latest research and feedback from Fortune 500 employers, we’re confident that the information in this guide will help you understand and tackle high MSK spend in the hospitality industry.

MSK in the Hospitality Industry

As the hospitality industry becomes more competitive, companies are pressed to rapidly expand their existing amenities to improve guest satisfaction. With this expansion of amenities, the rate of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions in the industry is on the rise. When compared to typical workers in the wider service sector, employees in the hospitality industry are 40% more likely to be injured. To compound the problem, these hospitality workers also have higher rates of serious disabling injuries, defined as those that require either reassignment to light duty or time off from work. 1

Increasing competition and higher industry standards demand that hospitality employees rise to the challenge. This inherently physical work causes higher rates of injury. The following job movements put your employees at an increased risk for musculoskeletal disorders:2

- Prolonged time standing - Repetitive physical tasks - Heavy lifting - Awkward postures or reaches - Limited rest time between activities

In hospitality, many of these movements are integral to provide top-level service. So, limiting these movements can prove challenging for most employers in the industry. And while certain precautions like education and customized tools can help minimize the impact of these activities, they can only do so much.

  1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2005).
  2. Ergonomics Program; Final Rule, 65 Federal Register § 220 (2000).

Key Takeaways

Injury risk
Employees in the hospitality industry are 40% more likely to be injured
MSK disorder risk
Job movements put your employees at an increased risk for musculoskeletal disorders
Physical toll
An average hotel housekeeper lifts the equivalent of 2 grand pianos per shift

Workforce impact

The toll of MSK on the workforce

Meet Sarah, a 42 year old Arizona native who has been a hotel housekeeper for the past twenty years. In the past decade, Sarah has seen her job become increasingly more physical as her company’s amenities have increased. The average room she cleans now has a king size bed topped with an upgraded, 100 pound mattress, plush duvets, and five pillows instead of the former standard of three. Multiply those 100+ pounds by the 20 beds she’s targeted to turnover daily, and you can see why Sarah takes an aspirin before every shift.

Repetitive motion takes a toll on your workforce and causes back and joint injuries. These injuries lead to chronic pain and ultimately to back and joint surgeries, which cause employer musculoskeletal (MSK) spend to balloon.

In a study with over 10 million plan members, Truven Health Analytics ranked musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions as the top cost driver for self-funded employers. The study found that MSK spend outpaced spend for cancer, cardiovascular disease, women’s health and reproductive care, or type 2 diabetes.

Employer MSK spend is so high because 4 out of 5 employees with chronic pain are not receiving expert-recommended non-surgical preventative care. Instead of preventative care, our medical system overuses surgery and drugs.

Key Takeaways
Overuse of drugs and surgery
Surgery and drugs account for 75% of MSK spend
Key Takeaways
Overuse of drugs and surgery
Surgery and drugs account for 75% of MSK spend

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