The production and sale of cannabis has become big business in Colorado since recreational use was legalized three years ago. As many as 22,000 Coloradans now work in this $1.3 billion dollar industry.
Pinnacol provides coverage to hundreds of employers in the cannabis industry, from nurseries to processors to retail operations. Members of our safety team have visited many businesses in the cannabis industry. Contrary to popular belief, they have found most in the industry to be conscientious employers who are dedicated to the safety of their employees.
However, with little guidance, it’s been extremely difficult for business owners in the industry to sort through and determine which safety regulations apply to them. Fortunately, Colorado health officials took note and released a comprehensive guide last month providing workplace safety recommendations specific to the cannabis industry. A Pinnacol safety consultant participated on a committee that worked on these guidelines.
The primary goal of the guide is to provide businesses in the cannabis industry a resource that helps them better understand and identify the potential workplace hazards. It also provides guidance and best practices for implementing controls that address common hazards.
For most of us, hazards in the cannabis-industry workplace seem limited to things like minor cuts from trimming plants. But the new guide highlights a variety of hazards employers should prepare for:
- Biological hazards such as contact with mold and sensitizers/allergens
- Chemical hazards such as exposure to carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, nutrients/corrosives and disinfectants/cleaning chemicals
- Physical hazards such as compressed gases, ergonomics/body mechanics, walking working surfaces, working at heights, electrical hazards, noise exposures, extraction equipment, lighting hazards, confined space, using personal protective equipment, workplace violence and more.
The cannabis industry is still very young, but incorporating the safety education and resources in the state’s new guide will ensure the industry’s businesses grow into safe and healthy places to work.
Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.