From seed to sale, no cannabis-related business is immune from the risk of injuries occurring at its workplace. Employees in this relatively new and growing industry come in regular contact with physical, chemical, occupational, and biological hazards, making it pertinent for employers to have safety plans and the right insurance policies in place. GreenWrap Insurance Solutions highlights common cannabis workplace injuries and what can be done to mitigate them.
Identify the Risks
The marijuana industry presents fantastic opportunities for a host of professionals to carve out a rewarding career path. However, just like with any other industry, cannabis businesses, as well as property owners, medical and life science professionals, legal and support companies, and ancillary organizations, all face inherent risks. Employers must be fully aware of possible risks and hazards in the workplace, including the following:
Every work environment presents the risk for physical injury, from slips and falls to transportation accidents. There are also specific hazards unique to each sector of the cannabis industry that must be considered. For example, growers may be exposed to ultraviolet light, compressed gas, and flammable or potentially explosive liquids. Accidents could result in various injuries from a small cut to disease or death. Workers comp applies to employee injuries.
From the farms that grow cannabis plants to the laboratories and beyond, employees may encounter several chemicals that are harmful to the human body. These may include the following:
- Cleaning chemicals
- Carbon dioxide
- Pesticides and insecticides
- Corrosive agents
Also referred to as ergonomic risks, employees could develop overuse injuries over time. Just as a typist might be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, employees in the cannabis industry, such as a budtender, may make repetitive movements over the course of their careers that could result in physical injuries, such as back sprains or pulled muscles.
These pertain to dangerous environmental conditions that may be present in a workspace, such as:
- Exposure to the psychoactive compound found in cannabis (THC)
- Improper ventilation leading to mold exposure of employees
- Allergic reactions or sensitivities related to handling cannabis plants
Form a Safety Plan
It’s important for employers in the cannabis industry to perform a workplace assessment to identify unique risks and coordinate a comprehensive safety plan. This needs to be clearly communicated to every employee in the company and thoroughly detail what the hazards are and how to protect against them, commonly referred to as a safety handbook. Many employers choose to implement hands-on safety training as well. Lastly, the hazard safety plan should also align with all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines and regulations.
Have the Right Insurance
No matter how carefully marijuana organizations and professionals plan for safety, accidents can still happen. That’s where having the right insurance policies can make all the difference for cannabis businesses of all sizes. At GreenWrap Insurance Solutions, our experienced team is here to support companies at all phases of the cannabis lifecycle, by offering customizable coverage over workplace risks. For more information about how we help our clients in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America, contact us today.