As the cannabis industry matures, worker safety must be valued as a priority. Today, many facilities are simply retrofitted warehouses originally designed for another industry. It is, unfortunately, true that repurposing older spaces is more likely to lead to less-than-ideal designs for the flow of people and plants
Agrify’s Vice President of Customer Success, Rob McEvoy, explains why it’s critical to value worker protection standards, train our employees about workplace safety, and improve our existing infrastructures.
Has cannabis worker safety changed since legalization?
Cannabis worker safety has changed since legalization. It’s slowly getting better. We are seeing more departments of agriculture at the state level providing oversight into commercial gardens. We’re starting to see businesses and teams unionize, and we also see a greater push for personal protective equipment as well as safety practices and procedures on-site.
What areas are of the most concern when it comes to workplace safety in the cultivation space?
The areas of most concern, regarding workplace safety, in the cultivation facility, involve the handling of agrichemicals, most notably fertilizers and pesticides, tripping and slipping events related to hoses, extension cords, and standing water. Accessing vertical spaces is also very tricky and cumbersome because it requires the use of ladders and/or a scissor or forklift.
OSHA inspections are on the rise for licensed producers. What do cultivation facilities need to keep in mind?
Cannabis cultivators should have set documentation and a record-keeping plan in place. Emergency policies and procedures, as well as a worksite safety plan, are key to passing such inspections. Personal protective equipment is also required throughout multiple departments in the cultivation facility to ensure worker safety.
What are three takeaways for improving on-site safety?
Three takeaways for improving on-site safety start with valuing worker protection standards and facility safety in general. From there, we then need to invest time in communication policies as well as training employees on those workplace safety aspects. Lastly, we need to invest in the existing infrastructure to improve it as well as our supply inventory to provide, in volume and in quality, the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) necessary for employees to do their jobs safely.
How does it impact overall operational cost?
By focusing on value, time, and investment, we can start to decrease our overall operational cost through our workplace safety initiatives. Savings will be realized in our cost of goods sold, our operational expenditures, as well as the business administration overhead.
Agrify: Providing Vertical Facility Designs That Keep Workers’ Safety in Mind.
Growing up with Agrify’s purpose-built Vertical Farming Units, designed with secure walkways, stairways, and product lifts – allows for an injury-free cultivating environment while reducing burnout and job dissatisfaction. In addition, Agrify’s Insights lessens the overall labor intensity allowing workers to monitor their crops remotely, improving work-life balance.