The cannabis industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Expected growth estimates are upwards of $24 billion by 2025. With this extensive growth comes the employment of more and more workers. As most of the attention is focused on the fight for legalization, there hasn’t been much discussion about the health and safety of the people who are working in the cannabis workplace. These jobs can range from cultivators, trimmers, extractors, edible producers, and more. With each task comes certain risks. It is vital for the success of the cannabis industry to protect the people behind the scenes. Personal Protective Equipment or PPE is a major part of safety guidelines for any business.
Five Reasons To Provide Cannabis PPE
PPE is useful in protecting not only the individual wearing it but can protect the product as well. As cannabis is used for human consumption, it must be kept pure, clean, and uncontaminated by foreign substances. This could be carried in on clothing, could include fluids, pieces of hair, skin, and more. In addition, a cannabis organization, should provide PPE for Cannabis Growing for the following reasons:
- Physical hazards – Workers should be protected from noise, ultraviolet rays, falling items, and any eye, ear, face, head, hand, body, or foot injury. Also included in physical hazards would be falls and trips.
- Chemical hazards – Cannabis growth requires pesticides, fertilizers, mold growth control chemicals, and fuels. Also, chemicals used for extraction can be dangerous if a worker is not wearing protective equipment.
- Biological factors – Mold is a problem among cannabis plants. An atmosphere filled with mold can cause reactions such as coughing, sneezing, eye and skin irritation. A mold allergy could create a more life-threatening reaction.
- Safety when using equipment – Employees in the cannabis industry often use dangerous equipment. This could be something as small as a sharp knife up to large processing equipment. Safety hazards also include the risk of electrical shock. Laborers should wear protective gloves, hard hat, rubber, steel-toed boots and any other PPE used to protect against these types of hazards.
- Respiratory protection – There are some non-chemical aspects to cannabis production, harvesting, and care. While dust, pollen, and other airborn irritants can cause negative effects in those inhaling them, they are not usually toxic. Allergy symptoms such as a stuffy, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, and red, itchy eyes will result in more employee illnesses. Cannabis operations will want to prevent employee sicknesses and absences due to these adverse reactions.
Even though there are not exact rules concerning PPE usage at this time, it is a wise decision for cannabis companies to choose to protect those working for them at all times. Without PPE you leave yourself open to law suits due to injury or even death. Not only is this a very real concern, the guilt a business owner would have over an accident that occurs while at their facility, would be tremendous and last a lifetime. PPE is an investment in the future success of your business as well as your employees. Spending time and money for safety is never a waste.