Employers in California are responsible for the health and safety of their employees. Each industry, including the marijuana sector, has its unique hazards that are typically covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently proposed penalties of more than $50,000 after completing an investigation into a June incident at a pot facility in Santa Cruz County.
Reportedly, a worker was using a dangerous process of oil extraction from cannabis leaves by using propane. Cal/OSHA investigators determined that the propane tank was ignited and exploded when the equipment that the worker used caused a spark. The victim was hospitalized with serious burn injuries.
Cal/OSHA says the employer failed to protect employees from the hazards posed by flammable vapors. Furthermore, risks were not identified, and equipment was not maintained safely. Also, employees did not receive adequate safety training, nor was there an action plan for emergencies in place. The agency says the employer failed to report the serious workplace injury. Cannabis manufacturers must establish programs for the prevention of illness and injury, and implement it in compliance with health and safety standards.
The medical expenses and the loss of income during recovery time might overwhelm California employees who were injured in work-related accidents. Most workers who face similar dilemmas seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Legal counsel can assist with the navigation of benefits claims for financial assistance. In cases in which injuries cause permanent disabilities, additional benefits might be awarded, including vocational training to equip workers with new skills to pursue different jobs.