A 2018 study from Colorado State University found that around 46% of legal cannabis industry workers surveyed reported they received “little to no” safety training since the beginning of their employment. This can translate to long-term occupational diseases or immediate hazards that go unnoticed at the workplace. We know that for workers, a safe workplace always starts with training.
In Oregon, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) put together a core safety requirement guide for cannabis growers, processors, and retailers. This includes:
- Identify workplace hazards
- Report and record workplace injuries
- Display the Oregon OSHA “It’s the Law” poster
- Make sure employees are properly trained
- Prepare for emergencies
- Develop Oregon OSHA-required programs
- Establish a safety committee or hold safety meetings
What Does a Safety Committee Do?
- Establish procedures for doing quarterly safety and health inspections to identify any workplace hazards that could injure workers. Those doing inspections must be trained in hazard identification.
- Meet at least monthly – except when you do quarterly inspections.
- Review all quarterly safety and health inspection reports andrecommend how to eliminate identified hazards.
- Work with management to establish procedures for investigating all safety incidents, accidents, work-related illnesses, and fatalities. Investigators must be trained in the principles of accident investigation. All work-related lost-time injuries must be investigated.
- Evaluate all investigation reports and recommend ways to prevent incidents from happening again.
- Set guidelines for training safety committee members.
- Evaluate your workplace’s safety and health programs.
How Many Members does a Safety Committee Need?
Membership depends on how many workers you have:
Twenty or fewer workers: The committee must have at least twomembers.
More than 20 workers: The committee must have at least four members.
What are the Requirements for Members?
The safety committee must have an equal number of management- selected and worker-elected (or volunteer) members. If everyone on the committee agrees, there can be more worker-elected members.
- Management can select a supervisor or a worker to represent them.
- Workers can volunteer or elect any co-worker to represent them.
- Members should serve a minimum of one year, when possible.
- A majority of members must agree on a chairperson.
For more information, this handout from the National Coalition for Health & Safety does a great job at looking in-depth at heath and safety committees.