As the cannabis industry continues to grow and expand its workforce, so does the need to provide proper safety training, education and general workplace protection for industry employees.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Occupational Safety and Health Association have all teamed up to provide a health and safety course specifically designed for employees in the cannabis industry. The seven-hour course will discuss general issues like fire hazards and safety challenges, as well as concerns more specific to the cannabis workplace like pesticide regulation and federal regulations in cultivating cannabis.
The course is based on the Guide for Marijuana Occupational Safety and Health released by the CDA last February as an aid for cannabis employers and businesses to build a comprehensive program aimed at providing health and safety guidelines for their unique industry.
The safety course, which will be held at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus on Wednesday, June 28 will outline the themes presented in the manual.
Roberta Smith, manager of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Occupational Health Program expressed the goal of the event is to keep employees informed and regulated. “The intention with publishing the guidelines was to have some kind of follow up to increase awareness for those in the marijuana industry, and for employers and workers to understand and develop a safety program in their workplace,” he said.
While neither the guideline nor the course itself will provide any new regulations pertaining to current Colorado law, the goal is to clear up any confusion or misunderstandings in regards to health and safety precautions that must be acknowledged and stringently followed by all cannabis industry employees. This safety course comes at a very crucial time for Colorado, as many commercial cannabis businesses have already faced numerous health and safety issues since retail dispensaries were established in 2014.
The CDA hopes to be able to host more safety courses in the future and eventually provide an online course, training employees on all industry issues.