Workers in the California cannabis industry might have questions about their rights to safe workplace environments and the protection their employers should provide. The California Division of Safety and Health have not established safety standards that apply specifically to the workplace injuries in the marijuana industry, but, just as in any other sector, employers must protect the safety and health of employees. They must also mitigate any job-related hazards.
These requirements apply to all cannabis industry employers, including cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and even those individuals involved in the laboratory testing of marijuana products. Employers must establish Injury and Illness Prevention Programs that must be available in writing. Procedures to identify health and safety risks, and rectifying steps to mitigate hazards must form part of the IIPP.
Employers must further provide adequate safety training to ensure that workers are aware of the hazards and know how to protect themselves. Cal/OSHA provides guidance for employers to develop IIPPs or to modify existing programs to be more effective. Along with the unique industry-related hazards, employers in the cannabis industry must comply with general industry standards such as electrical hazards, airborne contaminants, machine hazards, lockout/tagout procedures and more.
Victims of workplace injuries in the cannabis industry in California might be eligible for insurance benefits. Many workers choose to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can explain their rights and assist with the benefits claims process. They will likely be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses along with a portion of lost wages in the form of a weekly financial package.