Protecting workers in rapidly growing cannabis industry
With many states legalizing marijuana, the cannabis industry has seen a boom in business. However, as with any industry, employers and workers who grow cannabis need to be equipped with the proper protective equipment while doing their job. In its May 2017 issue, The Synergist magazine explores the topic of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in this emerging industry.
The article "Growing Pains," by James Lieberman, CIH, Rob Brown, and Robert N. Phalen, PhD, CIH, discusses the various hazards that workers can encounter in indoor cannabis cultivation and extraction facilities. These hazards include exposures to pesticides, marijuana dust and resin, ultraviolet light from high-output grow lamps, and mold spores. The article also suggests clothing and equipment that workers can wear for protection, such as gloves, respirators, safety glasses, and face shields. Wearers are cautioned to research their PPE choices carefully as not all products are made the same or tested in the same way.
"The Synergist article brings to light important health and safety issues that few have examined in the rapidly developing cannabis industry," said American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) CEO Lawrence Sloan, CAE. "In the rush to capitalize on the new opportunities unleashed by state legalization, the protection of workers must not be overlooked, but should instead be placed front and center. As with every industry, AIHA and its members are called to use the type of unique expertise exemplified by this article to protect the health and safety of workers, wherever they may be," Mr. Sloan continued.