OSHA – Safety first

By Pava (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 it (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/it/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rosalva Cleveland

When it comes to owning or operating a business, safety should never be compromised.

In the cannabis industry, because of federal regulations and the largely cash-only nature of business, it’s even more important to follow proper safety protocols.

Safety is a wide-ranging subject that includes well-trained employees who use appropriate personal protective equipment, follow company injury and illness prevention programs, learn how to prevent workplace violence, understand indoor air quality levels and take proper respiratory protection measures.

Safety often begins at the top; if supervisors work in an unsafe manner, then so will the employees.

Each state is regulated differently when it comes to occupational safety. In California, for example, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health oversees health and safety hazards in the workplace.

How can your employees learn to be safer? The first step is knowing the specific regulations of your industry. The needs for an auto repair shop will be different than a restaurant’s needs. For cannabis businesses, retail stores have significantly different safety hazards than a grow operation, so learning those specific elements is key. The OSHA-mandated training varies from industry to industry, so be sure to follow your industry’s standards.

Another subject of great importance, particularly for retail stores that are open to the public, is workplace violence prevention. Be sure you and your employees are properly trained. Be aware if someone at your workplace has a conflict with another person, particularly if a restraining order may be issued. Sometimes, the workplace is a prime location for violence, simply because the perpetrator knows when and where the victim can be found at work.

Business owners should ask their workers’ compensation insurance carrier about their experience modification rate and how that score was determined. This gives businesses insight into ways they can lower their insurance rates with a safer work environment. Many insurance companies will give discounts to companies that implement safety training programs and facility audits.


Rosalva Cleveland is the co-owner and vice president of Force Field Safety LLC. She can be reached at rcriskmanagement@gmail.com.


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