Cannabis business owners have a great deal of responsibility when running a cannabis business. Aside from the day-to-day business dealings with inventory, revenue, compliance, employee relations and more. Often certain aspects of insurance needs and requirements can be overlooked. One of those requirements is worker’s compensation insurance. For those that don’t know, worker’s compensation is a state mandated program that provides certain benefits for employees that suffer injuries or illnesses on the job. In many states the program provides coverage even if the employee is at fault, or put another way, if the employee causes the injury and the injury is job related.
Worker’s compensation programs covers most work related injuries typically unless an employee is intoxicated or under the influence of an illegal drug. That last detail can come into play for cannabis business owners and their employees because of the Schedule I classification of cannabis which deems marijuana as an illegal drug similar to cocaine or heroin. This possible exception is why it is critical that cannabis business owners work with experienced cannabis insurance specialists like Eric Rahn of S2S Insurance Specialists when reviewing and investing in worker’s compensation policies for their business. Worker’s compensation will pay for diagnosing and treating your injury, and will also pay hospital and medical expenses that accompany that diagnosis. Some state worker’s compensation programs may also pay for rehabilitation, retraining, and other benefits.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing $225,046 in penalties against a Colorado manufacturer for machine safety hazards after an employee was killed while working on a forging machine.
OSHA issued citations to Vforge Inc. in Lakewood for two willful and two serious safety violations for failing to develop lockout/tagout procedures, provide adequate machine guarding and train employees in a language they understand. OSHA also placed Vforge in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The citations say that an employee who had almost no ability to communicate in English was killed while servicing a press at Vforge’s factory on March 23. He had not been trained on proper safety procedures.
“Employers are legally required to implement appropriate procedures and provide training to protect their employees’ safety,” stated OSHA Englewood Area Office Director David Nelson. “This tragedy could have been prevented if safety measures were in place to prevent machinery from starting while being serviced.”
Not all employers are required to have worker’s compensation coverage. The state where your business is located will dictate the requirements for worker’s compensation coverage. Employer’s responsibility to provide coverage often depends on how many employees it has, what type of business it is, and what type of work the employees are doing. It is important to note that every state excludes certain types of workers. To learn more about what your specific state requires and what exclusions exist in your state you should contact a cannabis insurance specialist at S2S Insurance for information specific to your situation. Not having worker’s compensation coverage, or not having proper procedures in place to protect your employees can cost employers thousands of dollars in court costs, fines, and penalties. It is important as a cannabis business owner to have a risk management strategy that includes worker’s compensation coverage.