Workers in the marijuana industry face unique safety concerns
The marijuana industry comes with its own unique set of safety hazards, Washington OSHA Implementing preventative safety measures in this emerging industry will help to combat potential hazards as they arise. OSHA has compiled a series of issues for employees who work with marijuana to look out for. The lists cover all types of jobs, from producers and growers to processors and retailers.
Producers and Growers
Marijuana can be grown both indoors and outdoors, and producers working with the plants face similar hazards to others working in the agriculture industry, such as exposure to heat and pesticides. However, there are other hazards, including:
◾air enrichment with carbon dioxide in indoor growing, especially when using tanks of compressed carbon dioxide, dry ice or burners
◾indoor electrical hazards, including improperly wired equipment or damaged electrical cords, and
◾equipment for drying or processing plants that have exposed pinching, cutting or rotating hazards.
To combat these hazards, OSHA suggested workers look at some agriculture safety prevention information and put emergency response plans in place.
A marijuana processor’s job is to work with cured plant material to extract substances to create edible products. Processors also handle labeling and packaging. Potential safety concerns for this type of worker include:
◾hazards in a kitchen setting for workers making “edibles,” like cuts and amputations from knives or slicers, electrical shock from faulty equipment and burns. Other concerns include dangerous contact with sanitizers or cleaning solutions, as well as slips, trips and falls, and sprains or strains from repetitive work or lifting.
OSHA said keeping up-to-date on first aid, fire safety and electrical safety, would be helpful to workers in marijuana processing. OSHA revealed that employees in marijuana retail face many of the same hazards that any retail worker might find, including:
◾strains and sprains from lifting and stocking
◾workplace violence, including robberies, and
◾slips, trips and falls.
To prevent these hazards,OSHA suggested reviewing general retail safety guidelines as well as information on crime prevention for late-night retail workers.