The “cannabis industry” in California is not monolithic but is actually composed of employers in various industries. Agricultural employers cultivate cannabis, manufacturing employers process cannabis and package it, and retail employers sell the cannabis. For all these employers, Cal/OSHA imposes several workplace safety requirements that can pose compliance challenges.
Currently, Cal/OSHA does not have a specific regulation for employers involved in the cannabis industry. In 2018, Cal/OSHA issued advisory findings and recommendations on the industry-specific regulations for cannabis establishments. The findings concluded that there was a need for industry-specific regulations, particularly as it applies to employee exposure to secondhand smoke from on-site consumption of marijuana. To date, however, no such regulation has been proposed.
Despite the lack of industry-specific regulation, cannabis industry employers should be aware of many general requirements under Cal/OSHA which are detailed on a Cal/OSHA industry page.
Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)
All California employers are obligated to have an effective written IIPP, which should include procedures to identify and correct health and safety hazards and detailed training plans for employees among other components.
Cal/OSHA also suggests that cannabis industry employers review the Injury and Illness Prevention Model Program for Workplace Security due to the nature of the industry. The model program walks through communication with employers, hazard assessment for workplace security issues, and related issues.
Relevant Health and Safety Regulations
Cal/OSHA has identified other general industry standards as having potential application to cannabis industry employers, including the following:
- Electrical Hazards
- Exposures to Airborne Contaminants
- Flammable Liquids and Gases
- Hazard Communication
- Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout
- Heat Illness Prevention
- Machine Hazards
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Point of Operation Hazards
- Pressure Vessels
- Prohibition of Smoking in the Workplace
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
- Sanitation and Pest Control
- Slips, Trips, Falls, and Use of Ladders
If you are a cannabis industry employer and have questions about workplace safety compliance in California, please reach out to the authors, the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you often work, or any member of our Workplace Safety and Health Team.