Using high-quality standard procedures to keep Cannabis safe and healthy is one of the primary reasons why it takes a lot of money. Growers take it upon themselves to ensure the crop remains relevant in the medicinal world. Of course, making profits is their main reason for growing the plant, but it only makes sense to protect their workers as well. So, here are the types of occupational hazards they risk facing and the type of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they should wear:
Hazard 1: Ultraviolet Radiation from the Sun
Most Cannabis Growers work in the fields for long hours, which is why they are more prone to the harsh UV rays from the sun. Of course, these rays make them vulnerable to skin cancers like melanoma, premature aging, disrupted circadian rhythms, and changes to the DNA. In some instances, the grow lights give rise to harmful light.
As expected, employers will provide employees with UV protection, including goggles, gloves, and coveralls. These protective gears are essential for workers who are exposed to light for hours on end. However, they may fail to shield them from different categories of rays that can cause additional damages.
Hazard 2: Pesticides
Like any other crop, cannabis also requires the use of pesticides. As expected, they contain toxic substances that can affect the user, whether they are used temporarily or permanently. They are also at the risk of contracting respiratory tract infections such as asthma, pneumonia, and many others.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is very clear on the type of protection standard each cannabis employer must follow. This helps in determining the type of respirator for each specific pesticide. They may also be required to wear gloves, coveralls, goggles, and protective shoes.
Hazard 3: Slips, Trips, and Falls
Many cases of slips, trips, and falls have been reported in most cannabis facilities when it is wet. The worst that can happen is that the affected person will have to skip work to attend to the wound or broken bone.
Retaining employees is one of the best ways to ensure the plant stays in good shape. The floor is going to get wet sooner or later. Therefore, one must ensure all employees wear slip-resistant shoes to avoid accidents.
In other facilities, growers may be required to wear Tyvek or long-sleeved shirts when they harvest to prevent skin irritations.
Hazard 4: Presence of Cannabis Resin
Having allergic skin reactions, including swollen red eyes and excessive itchiness are common symptoms for workers who are exposed to the resin. Worse still, they are at a higher risk of developing complicated skin conditions that can cause permanent blindness.
While they are out in the fields, it will be challenging to stay away from this toxic substance. For this reason, they will be required to wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, coveralls, and even faceguards.
The importance of Safety Training
The company may have the best laid out plans to protect its employees from these occupational hazards. But, their efforts will remain futile if employees don’t use PPE correctly. So, training is essential so that employees can understand the benefits of proper use and maintenance of the equipment. Remember, safety training happens as soon as the employee starts their job, and also when the policy changes.
One thing employees should understand is that PPE is as essential to plants as it is to them. It means when they wear protective clothing, their hair, sweat, or any other bodily debris will not get into contact with the plants. So, the plants will be safe for human consumption.
Most companies offer safety training on an annual basis as a refresher course on the firm’s safety policies. After that, they will need to be reminded to do their part to ensure safety. There is a reason why PPE is designed for different workplaces. So, they need to wear PPE appropriately and replace them when they start wearing out.
After training, the employee should be bound by the guidelines. This not only helps them to understand the potential hazards at work, but it also prepares them for the consequences should they fail to obey. Failing or forgetting to wear these gears shouldn’t be their problem. They should be more worried about the potential risk that comes with failing to follow the guidelines.
Every time a worker is out in the field, they get exposed to toxic chemicals, falls, and other occupational hazards. The safety standards depend on the particular needs of each employer and whether they have what it takes to keep their employees safe from these hazards. Before conducting the safety training, employers should look into the hazards and do away with them. Remember, these protective gears can only be used where the risks cannot be removed.