The first few months on the job can be hazardous to your health.
That’s true for a lot of industries and, sure enough, was proven once more in a recent Pinnacol Assurance analysis of occupational injury trends in the cannabis industry.
Pinnacol found that 38% of all injuries in the cannabis business occurred in the first six months of employment.
There’s nothing really mysterious about why this happens. It’s often a matter of workers inexperienced in the field. But it also suggests something we’ve addressed here before: inadequate training for cannabis workers.
Cannabis businesses, in other words, could be doing more to prepare their newest hires (and perhaps more seasoned ones, too) on how to do their work without injury.
This isn’t a problem that crops up just once in a while; in fact, it’s fairly common.
Nearly half of cannabis workers surveyed told Colorado State University occupational health researchers they had never received any health and safety training on the job. Just 16% said they received structured, ongoing training.
The good news, according to Pinnacol, is that the cannabis industry “as a whole is relatively safe compared with other cultivation, retail and manufacturing jobs in Colorado.”
“As the cannabis industry continues to mature in Colorado, we see companies increasingly adding safety managers and focusing on basic ergonomic, materials handling and fall protection risk mitigation,” Pinnacol’s director of safety services, Jim McMillen, said.
Good thing, because the number of cannabis industry workers injured on the job last year – about 350 in Colorado – was high enough.
Their most common injuries included contusions, strains, lacerations, sprains and burns.
Pinnacol noted that one of the more frequently occurring injuries involved a “foreign body in (workers’) eyes.”
The average claim cost in eye injury cases in 2018 was about $2,000 – considerably more than the cost of a pair of safety glasses.
Spencer Mahoney is a CCIG insurance advisor and heads the firm’s Cannabis Practice. Reach him at 720-212-2051 or Spencer.Mahoney@thinkccig.com.
CCIG’s risk control and risk prevention specialists will help you review your safety programs, work with you to identify your operational exposures and offer strategic alternatives for avoiding or transferring risk and mitigating losses.