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Cannabis: Workers’ Compensation and Health Considerations

January 20, 2021
Man checking hemp plant

The cannabis industry is starting to boom. Oftentimes people think of the cannabis industry as brick-and-mortar establishments that customers physically visit. However, tremendous efforts go into the agricultural work to sustaining the cannabis industry. And like any other agricultural work, there can be detrimental effects on the body when performing such laborious activities.

Safety Training

Regardless of the industry, lack of safety training can result in unnecessary injuries. In the agricultural industry, it is important to make sure employees are well-trained on how to use equipment as well as equipped with safety gear when handling the equipment. Specific to the cannabis industry, personal protective equipment (PPE) may include non-slip boots, protective gloves and eyewear, masks, knee pads, and back braces. Supplying your employees with proper PPE may seem expensive, but taking the necessary precautions to protect employees, in the long run, is much cheaper than dealing with the repercussions of injuries, illnesses, fatalities, or employee turnover. Employees should also be well trained in the proper physical maneuvers to use when harvesting cannabis. Provide your employees opportunities to train and retrain, when needed.

Physical Effects Agricultural Work

Cannabis workers can often be exposed to repetitive motions that can have taxing effects on different parts of the body. Typically, these workers are on their knees or squatting low, which can have negative effects on their knees and their back. When so much of their work consists of them being in these positions often their body is not given a break, these repetitive motions and positions can cause carpal tunnel, tendinitis, or chronic pain.[1] Along with physical impacts, workers may also experience respiratory and other serious health issues due to the use of pesticides, mold, and other toxins.

Workers’ Compensation Considerations

When looking at workers’ compensation, it’s important to think about what type of injuries are common to your industry, as well as any unique situations that may pose risk to your employees. This will help guide you to find suitable coverage that meets employees’ needs. It would be beneficial to identify a few agricultural workers who can serve as communication liaisons between management and employees to address any safety and risk concerns. As an employer, you do not want to guess what your employees need and face penalties for negligence. When exploring worker’s compensation plans, researching what is common in the industry and surveying your employees on what they believe are safety and risk concerns is necessary to establish a plan that meets all goals and expectations of providing adequate support.

Employers should be prepared to research proper employee protection requirements for specific industries. Every industry is different and while some similarities exist, there is no one-size-fits-all workers’ compensation solution. Be proactive by partnering with AccessPoint. Our team of safety and risk management experts can help find workers’ compensation and healthcare packages that are unique for your business needs. Contact AccessPoint today to learn more.

 

[1] Work Fit