Cannabis Industry Health and Safety

Source: Tyson Anderson - 123RF

All employers in the cannabis industry, including those who cultivate, manufacture, distribute, sell, and test marijuana products must take steps to protect their employees from all health and safety hazards associated with their work.

Several Cal/OSHA regulations apply to workplaces in the cannabis industry.

The cannabis industry includes:

  • Cultivation;
  • Distribution;
  • Laboratory testing;
  • Manufacturing; and
  • Retail.

Employers in California are required to have an effective written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The IIPP must include procedures to identify and correct health and safety hazards in the workplace and provide effective training so employees can perform work safely.

To develop a written IIPP or improve an existing program, visit Cal/OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program e‑Tool webpage.

The following are some of the occupational health and safety regulations to employers in the cannabis industry:

Colorado State University researchers in the Department of Psychology recently completed a first-of-its-kind, peer-reviewed study that examines the demographics, physical environment and psychosocial aspects of working in the cannabis trade, which is now legal in some form in over half the United States.

According to the survey, published in MedicalXPress on March 26th, 2018, workers in the cannabis industry were generally job-secure and valued safety. They also regularly consumed cannabis, expressed low concerns about workplace hazards and reported occupational injuries and exposures.

The authors also found that there is an imminent need to establish more formal health and safety training and guidelines, in order to build up a culture of best practices.

The survey also found that about 46 percent of respondents reported little to no worker safety training since beginning their employment.

The State of Colorado recently published an industry-specific guide to worker health and safety. In June and November, the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, jointly hosted safety training that highlighted many of the issues the university study outlined.

To date, these organizations have trained more than 220 people.