The legal cannabis sector is thriving and is constantly evolving. The majority of states have now legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use since they are creating millions of dollars worth of revenue, and that is only projected to increase with currently about 243,700 jobs supported by the legal cannabis industry. However, there are still plenty of kinks to work out for this industry. They encounter similar safety obstacles as other greenhouse facilities do, such as employers being exposed to biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Providing proper training and safe working environments is crucial to establish a successful business.
Identification Creates Prevention
The key to a safer workplace is taking preventative measures. One way to do this is by better understanding how to identify the top threats. The main hazards for the cannabis sector fall into the following categories:
These are hazards such as mold exposure from greenhouse emissions without the proper ventilation. It can also be direct skin exposure to sensitizers while working with the plants.
This includes exposures to things such as pesticides, fertilizers, nutrients, excessive carbon dioxide, cleaning chemical agents, or corrosive chemicals.
These hazards include flammable, combustible liquids, compressed gas, or excessive ultraviolet exposure that could easily cause a burn. Other hazards include slips, trips, and falls from walking on slippery floors.
Injuries regarding machine/tool usage, cuts, and sprains.
Holding Yourself Accountable
Those in the business of cultivating and distributing cannabis are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment according to OSHA standards. It is vital to be equipped with a thorough safety program that will keep employees safe while ensuring that the business follows the OSHA regulations. It is impossible to avoid hazards altogether, however, a safety plan will significantly help lower your risk. Assessing your operation’s specific vulnerabilities and exposures is critical. Staying on track with legal compliance and minimizing hazards for a safer workplace is not only good business, but it could save you from so many issues down the line. You can begin creating a workplace safety plan by:
- Assessing what personal protective equipment is needed to address the current hazards.
- Creating a communication plan in accordance with OSHA.
- Developing an accident action plan, so workers know what they need to do in the event of an accident.
- Using signage to identify hazards and how to minimize risks.
- Enforcing proper chemical storage (safety containers and cabinets help prevent mishandling).
- Conducting more in-depth training on how to safely handle hazardous chemicals.
- Supplying employees with the equipment needed to ensure their safety.
- Enforcing good housekeeping, floor protection mats, and proper footwear.
- Developing an electrical safety program for facility needs.
- Making sure that all safety equipment is serviced regularly and meets the latest safety standards.
- Routinely conducting safety training so employees are current with safety policies.
About Thayer Innes and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agencies