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Weed on wheels: Pinnacol provides employers, employees, and consumers with tips for avoiding new safety hazards driven by Colorado’s growing cannabis delivery sector

November 3, 2021
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Top workers’ comp insurer advises on avoiding workplace violence, safe driving, avoiding trips and falls, and ergonomics 

DENVER, Nov. 3, 2021 — Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s largest workers’ comp insurer, is advising employers and consumers on new workplace hazards related to an emerging service throughout the state - cannabis product delivery. The carrier is providing resources and tips for avoiding employee injuries and illnesses. 

The insurer tapped its occupational safety experts - the largest team in the state - to analyze past claims trends and predict which new hazards employers should expect and guidance on what to do. Pinnacol safety experts say the new hazards fall into the following categories: 

  1. Workplace violence and security (delivering product and close contact with people, protective pets, transferring product)
  2. Driving safety (distractions, motor vehicle accidents)
  3. Walking surfaces (trips, slips, and falls) 
  4. Ergonomics 

“Driving is one of the riskiest behaviors for workers in Colorado, resulting in more than 40% of worker fatalities in a given year, but many companies operate driving services very safely,” said Pinnacol Safety Consultant Randy Philabaum. “Awareness of new hazards and proper training, equipment, and policies can help businesses blaze into this new territory safely.” 

Coloradans can support your local “Cannabus” 

Pinnacol experts noted that consumers play a part in making workplaces safe for delivery drivers, since their workplace also includes our front porches and driveways. Consumers who expect to order their Mary Jane curbside should take care to: 

  1. Keep accessways clear of ice and snow as well as items in the path that can cause trip hazards.
  2. Ensure adequate lighting so that the delivery personnel can clearly see the sidewalk or access path.
  3. Provide clear instructions in the delivery order to help the delivery driver easily locate your residence.
  4. Secure pets elsewhere when the delivery person approaches the door.
  5. Have the required identification (and form of payment if applicable) ready and available.  The more the driver has to wait for each delivery, the farther behind they can fall, leading to rushing/accidents. 
  6. Know that the vehicles cannot be marked to advertise what they are delivering, so don’t expect dispensary branding on delivery bags, for security purposes.

Among the recommendations Pinnacol’s safety experts are giving to employers: 

  1. Empower employees through policy to leave a location if surroundings appear unsafe, and advise them to never cross the threshold of a residence. Also, consider a time limit for waiting for a customer. 
  2. Have a panic mechanism for contacting authorities, like a wearable device. 
  3. Asking customers as part of their ordering transaction to secure any pets before opening the door, and consider a “red flag” list of known addresses with aggressive animals or customers. 
  4. Ensure safe and secure loading and unloading spaces, ensure multiple employees participate in those processes, and avoid product transfers at predictable times and places each day. 
  5. Set expectations that employees minimize phone use while driving, and use voice guidance for directions. Ensure the app solution you choose cannot interfere with driving. 
  6. Schedule deliveries to minimize rushing or time crunches, and plan accordingly around heavy traffic times. 
  7. Ensure fleets are well-maintained and drivers are properly trained. Institute a no-tolerance policy for intoxication while driving. 
  8. During ordering transactions, ask that customers ensure walkways are safe and well-lit. 
  9. Ensure employees wear slip-resistant footwear, especially during poor weather, and train them on the 3-points of contact concept when entering or exiting their vehicles. 

Philabaum continued, “Pinnacol has been supporting cannabis companies since the very beginning, and we are pleased to help them harness this new opportunity safely and grow their businesses.” 

Pinnacol policyholders that have recently or are planning to add delivery services should notify their agent and/or Pinnacol to ensure appropriate coverage.

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