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Guide to Worker Safety in the Commercial Marijuana Industry

Marijuana CigarettesMarijuana is currently legal for adult use in eight states, including California; thus, cannabis is sold both for medicinal purposes and recreational use. The legislation created a multitude of job opportunities for entrepreneurs and job seekers alike. Although pot is not federally supported at this time, new commercial cannabis businesses must still comply with federal laws and regulations.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health law, employers in every industry must create a safe work environment for workers. Although this is a new industry, it is growing at an unprecedented rate. It is important that these businesses strive to limit potential risks to employees.

Top Five OSHA Infractions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for creating guidelines and overseeing worker safety in the cannabis industry. OSHA compliance is essential for any marijuana company to survive. Often, fines and penalties are substantial and many new businesses are unable to absorb the cost, creating a financial burden they may not be able to overcome.

The five most common infractions in California and other recreational use states are:

  • Incomplete hazard communication plan;
  • Hazardous materials training completed before start date;
  • Workplace injury OSHA documentation;
  • Formal fire prevention plan; and
  • Personal protective equipment evaluation and documentation.
Helpful Guidelines

There are countless studies about the safety and public health concerns while using marijuana. However, the commercial cannabis industry is still developing. There is little information available regarding the occupational safety and health specific to this industry. What information is available will expand and evolve with the industry. These are among the suggested best practices to reduce injury and other health concerns.

  • Practice good housekeeping skills to avoid mold and allergen hazards;
  • Ensure all areas are well ventilated;
  • Train employees in the proper use of PPE;
  • Provide training on use, storage, and emergency spill procedures for chemicals and corrosives;
  • Eliminate or reduce the use of flammable substances;
  • Install a carbon dioxide monitoring system with audible alarms; and
  • Pesticides should be appropriately labelled.
After an Injury

Although the marijuana industry is under development, business owners and employers alike owe it to their employees to have done their research on how to best protect their employees. Workplace injuries can be severe and long-lasting, resulting in costly medical bills and insurmountable pain and suffering.

At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., we understand the complications which can arise from workplace injuries, and we will aggressively defend your rights as we help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our experienced Santa Clara County premises liability attorneys today at (408) 289-1417 to schedule your free, personalized consultation.

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