Injury Prevention Training for Colorado Cannabis Workers
As the legal cannabis industry blossoms so does the demand for new jobs. Today, full-time workers of this industry outnumber nurses, electrical engineers, and HR managers in the US by far.
However, almost half of the workers in the cannabis industry who were surveyed report that they have received little to no safety training since they’ve been hired.
This is why Roberta Smith, the occupational health program manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has organized the first 8-hour long worker safety training session of this department, specifically for the legal cannabis industry, with the help of her coworkers.
In 2017, the department has released its “Guide to Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana Industry,” in order to help employers create high-quality occupational safety and health programs. Across the US, more than 211,000 workers are employed full-time in this industry; the numbers grow steadily with each passing day. It’s also estimated that this number will reach 1.6 million by 2025; that is if the government fully legalizes the use of cannabis.
Just some of the possible hazards in the retail setting include various slips, trips, and falls; 75% of all the injuries in this industry happen in greenhouses and on farms where workers are caught in something, or struck by an object. The cultivation process brings possible contact with electricity and water as well. In addition to this, workers trimming the cannabis plant often suffer from injuries caused by repetitive motions. There is also exposure to dangerous chemicals, mold, and pesticides to think about.
Other industries have the same, or similar, hazards; meaning, there are resources from which safety training programs could be modeled by.
This is why the CDPHE has reached out and connected with the cannabis industry. They meet with both workers and employers to help them with training areas that confuse them the most, or are just unclear; in other words, they help people working in the cannabis industry make a list of possible hazards and guidelines they need to focus on.
Since the industry is growing rapidly, it’s good to see that workers are getting proper training and the rights they deserve.