As in all other industries, employees in the marijuana industry deserve to be safe in their workplace environments. Although it has been legal to use marijuana for recreational purposes since 2012, safety regulations in this industry are only now receiving attention. Injured workers in the marijuana industry have the same rights to workers’ compensation benefits as those with other injuries have.
Alongside the existing safety regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Colorado Marijuana Occupational Health and Safety Work Group created a supplementary guide to protecting employees within the industry. While these workers face the more common hazards such as falls from slips and trips, more industry-specific injuries must be anticipated. The risk of suffering fatal injuries in explosions or fires is high.
Reporting and recording rules for on-the-job injuries in the marijuana industry will apply to all retail, testing and cultivation facilities with more than 10 employees. Due to the current lack of regulation, there is no clear picture of the safety and health of workers in this industry. Records only show three instances in which marijuana-processing companies received citations for safety violations since 2012.
With proper regulation, injured workers in the marijuana industry in Colorado will now have the same rights to workers’ compensation benefits as employees in other industries have. They can file benefits claims to cover medical expenses they have incurred, and even the costs related to traveling to and from the doctor or hospital might be compensated. Also, benefits will include wage replacement for workers whose injuries caused temporary disability.
Source: marijuanaresources.com, “Colorado Creates Marijuana Safety Rules”, Jessica Leone, Feb. 8, 2017