The Cannabis Industry is a Safe Bet for Workers

There's not much falling down on the job

If you’re looking for a job where you probably won’t get injured, the cannabis industry might be a safe bet. An injury analysis by Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s largest workers compensation insurer, found that the industry is relatively safe compared with other cultivation, retail and manufacturing jobs in the state.

“As the cannabis industry continues to mature in Colorado, we see companies increasingly adding safety managers and focusing on basic ergonomic, materials handling and fall protection risk mitigation,” says Jim McMillen, Pinnacol’s director of safety services.

According to Pinnacol’s claims data, about 350 Coloradans working in cannabis retail, cultivation, manufacturing, clerical support and transportation were injured on the job in 2018. The five most common injury causes were:

  1. Strain
  2. Cut
  3. Fall or slip
  4. “Struck by” (being hit by something)
  5. “Strike” (person hitting something)

“Eye injuries are quite common in the cannabis industry and are very easily preventable with a small investment in eye protection (safety glasses) and a plan to enforce their use,” McMillen says. “Severe eye injuries can cause vision loss, blindness and other long-term issues.”

April is the safest month for cannabis workers, despite “4/20” events and promotions. Injuries are most likely in February and October, but the most expensive injuries happen in December.

Other findings from Pinnacol’s claims data:

  • Seventy percent of injuries were incurred by men aged 20-29.
  •  Consistent with other industries, workers are most at risk in their first six months of employment, with 38 percent of all injuries occurring in that time period. 
  • Seventy-six percent of claims occur during normal business hours, with most of them happening between 10 a.m. and noon.


For more information, read Pinnacol’s employer guide to cannabis and workers’ compensation 


Categories: Business Insights, Human Resources