Tracking accidents and injury claims in the marijuana industry

Although the legal status of marijuana remains in flux throughout the country, it has become a lawful and booming industry here in California and certain other states. It may not seem obvious, but one of the benefits of legalization is tracking and ensuring worker safety.

The roughly 211,000 workers who make a living in the cannabis industry nationwide are now subject to the same OSHA regulations as other workers. And for perhaps the first time, we are seeing regular statistics of the most common accidents and injuries in the field of marijuana agriculture.

The statistics in this case don’t come from California. Instead, they come from the other state most closely associated with legal marijuana: Colorado. According to a report from the state’s largest workers’ comp insurer, there were some 31,000 cannabis workers in Colorado last year. Of those, approximately 350 reported on-the-job injuries.

Workers were most likely to suffer injuries to their eyes, hands, fingers, lower backs and knees. And, for some reason, there seemed to be a “concerning” amount of “foreign body in eye” incidents among workers. The average cost of eye-injury claims was around $2,000 each.

Other common injuries included:

  • Strains
  • Contusions and lacerations
  • Sprains
  • Burns

While any workplace hazards are a reason for concern, Colorado’s marijuana industry is safe compared to other occupations. Only 1.1 percent of workers reported injuries from working in cultivation facilities, dispensaries, retail operations and related businesses.

No matter what (legally sanctioned) field you happen to work in, you are likely subject to OSHA regulations. As such, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries suffered on the job. Please discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney in your area.

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