Colorado issues safety guidelines for marijuana businesses

Cannabis businesses in Colorado now have guidance on how to create and maintain a safe workplace.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued an 80-page report intended to help marijuana businesses identify health and safety hazards that could exist in their workplaces and “provide a starting point for the assessment and evaluation of occupational health hazards.”

Assembled by the Colorado Marijuana Occupational Health and Safety Work Group, the guide focuses on the safety of jobs ranging from extraction personnel to budtenders. It spotlights three areas of hazards – biological, chemical and physical.

It also recommends measures and programs business owners can implement to eliminate or decrease such risks in the workplace.

“Slips, trips and falls are hazards common to every industry,” Roberta Smith, manager of the Occupational Health Program for the CDPHE said in a news release, “but the marijuana industry has special considerations. For example, fires and explosions can occur during production of marijuana extracts and lead to fatal injuries.”

The guide stresses that it contains no new health and safety and regulations exclusive to the marijuana industry and is not meant to supersede regulations that Colorado officials or the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration already have issued.

The 40-plus members of the committee – representing such fields as public health, safety, regulations and medicine – acknowledged they were following in the footsteps of Washington state in making recommendations for workplace safety.