Cannabis Industry COVID-19 Guidance & Checklists

COVID 19 Safety and Health Training

COVID 19 Safety and Health TrainingShort and simple to use checklists designed for workers in the cannabis industry to take a quick “snapshot” of safety in their areas of responsibility. Conducting frequent workplace safety and health inspections using these safety checklists is one of the most widely accepted means of identifying COVID-19 hazards and unsafe behavior.

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Regular self-inspection using safety checklists is an essential component in every proactive safety program. These safety checklists are a useful tool to HELP cannabis industry workers to identify unsafe conditions and work practices that are likely to cause possible COVID-19 infections.

Combine items from these safety checklists with safety audits and inspections as well as with injury statistics and suggestions from cannabis workers to decide what improvements are needed in specific safety areas. There are two (2) things to remember when creating and implementing a COVID-19 safety checklist program:

  1. Be sure to adequately train supervisors on how and when to do the checklists
  2. Be sure you DO SOMETHING with the results

Workplace Social Distancing Guidance

COVID 19 Health and Safety Training

COVID 19 Health and Safety TrainingThe cannabis industry is committed to protecting the health and safety of the workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times. Safety agencies around the world will be issuing a series of alerts designed to keep cannabis workers safe and provide training.

Social (physical) distancing involves maintaining at least six (6) feet of distance between people and is an effective way to help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. The following steps can help employers implement social distancing in the workplace:

  • Encourage cannabis workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Isolate any worker who begins to exhibit symptoms until they can either go home or leave to seek medical care.
  • Establish flexible worksites (ex. telecommuting) and flexible work hours (ex. staggered shifts), if feasible.
  • In workplaces where customers are present, mark six (6) foot distances with floor tape in areas where lines form, use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, and limit the number of customers allowed at one time.
  • Stagger breaks and rearrange seating in common break areas to maintain physical distance between workers in the cannabis industry.
  • Move or reposition workstations to create more distance and install plexiglass partitions.
  • Encourage cannabis workers to bring any safety and health concerns to the employers’ attention.

Dispensary Retail Workers Guidance

Marijuana Dispensary Staffing Solutions

Marijuana Dispensary Staffing SolutionsIf you are an employer in the retail cannabis dispensary part of the industry (ex. adult-use, medical, etc.), the following tips can help reduce your employees’ risk of exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Encourage cannabis workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Provide a place to wash hands or alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved cleaning chemicals or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Practice sensible social distancing, maintaining six (6) feet between co-workers and customers, where possible. For example, some worksites have already begun to demarcate six (6) foot distances with floor tape in checkout lines. Workplaces, where social distancing is a challenge, should consider innovative approaches, such as opening only every other cash register, temporarily moving cannabis dispensary workstations to create more distance, and installing plexiglass partitions.
  • Use a drive-through window or curbside pick-up.
  • Provide workers and customers with tissues and trash receptacles.
  • Train workers in proper hygiene practices and the use of workplace controls.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

Cannabis Delivery Workforce Guidance

Retail Cannabis Delivery COVID 19 Safety Training

Retail Cannabis Delivery COVID 19 Safety TrainingIf you are packaging cannabis for delivery, the following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Establish flexible work hours (ex. staggered shifts) where feasible.
  • Practice sensible social distancing and maintain six (6) feet between co-workers where possible.
  • Minimize interaction between drivers and customers by leaving deliveries at loading docks, doorsteps, or other locations that do not require person-to-person exposures.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Promote personal hygiene. If workers do not have access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Provide tissues, as well as disinfectants and disposable towels workers can use to clean work surfaces, including vehicle interiors.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ tools and equipment.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved cleaning chemicals or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

Stockroom & Product Manufacturer Guidance

Cannabis Manufacturing COVID 19 Safety Training

Cannabis Manufacturing COVID 19 Safety TrainingThe following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus among stockroom or cannabis product manufacturing workers, as well as other retail cannabis workers, who perform tasks that do not involve frequent interaction with the public:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Stock displays (ex. shelves, freezers, etc.) during slow periods or shifts during which stores are closed to minimize contact with the public.
  • If stocking occurs while stores are open, use barriers or markers to physically separate employees from customers.
  • Maintain at least six (6) feet between co-workers and customers, where possible.
  • Limit customer capacity in stores.
  • Coordinate with vendors and delivery companies to minimize the need for stockroom and loading dock workers to have contact with delivery drivers.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Discourage sharing of tools or equipment. Disinfect tools that must be shared after each use.
  • Provide a place to wash hands and alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved cleaning chemicals or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

COVID 19 Vaccine Training

COVID 19 Vaccine TrainingAs COVID-19 vaccines become available, many cannabis industry employers will have a strong case for requiring employee vaccinations, so long as their vaccination policies have certain exceptions, are job-related, and are consistent with business necessity, legal experts say.

Employers may require vaccines before employees return to the worksite if the failure to be vaccinated constitutes a direct threat to other employees in the workplace because the virus is rampant and easily transmitted in the workplace.

Exceptions must be made for employees who cannot be vaccinated because of disabilities or due to sincerely held religious beliefs, he added. Employers in the cannabis industry do not have to accommodate secular or medical beliefs about vaccines.

Some companies will have strong justifications to require their employees to be vaccinated. The more likely it is that nonvaccinated employees put customers, fellow employees or the general public at risk, the more compelling the case will be for a vaccination mandate.

Context matters when deciding whether to mandate vaccines. Health care, travel, retail, or other businesses whose employees are at risk or who present a risk to others will have more business reasons to be “pro-vaccine.” Office-based businesses or cannabis businesses that can rely on remote workers may find it easier to take a “personal-choice” stance.

COVID-19 vaccinations are a polarizing topic for many employees. What’s welcome to employees in one location might be unpopular at another site. Certain employees may choose to no longer work for an employer, depending on whether or not a vaccination policy. This can result in business slowdowns and negative publicity.

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