Cannabis Production: Health and Safety Issues

Cannabis ProductionGrowing, processing, distributing and retailing cannabis products brings potentially serious workplace hazards including biological, chemical and physical hazards that need to be managed and controlled. Hazards that need to be addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • Occupational hygiene - noise, solvent exposure in processing, heat stress and particulate, pesticide use.
  • Ergonomic considerations - arising from forceful exertions, repetitive and/or prolonged activities, awkward postures when working.
  • Working at heights - resulting from the indoor facilities used for growing and production.
  • Warehousing - racking and pedestrian safety.
  • Machine safety - working with the equipment required to harvest and process cannabis.
There is also the challenge of training new workers, ensuring mandatory awareness and certification training, and getting up to speed on safe workplace practices in a timely fashion.

What the law says

Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that employers take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers. Sections 25, 27 and 28 refer to duties and responsibilities of employers, supervisors and workers.

The OHS Act also requires employers to appoint "competent" people as supervisors. This means the supervisor must be:

  • Qualified because of knowledge, training, and experience to organize the work and its performance.
  • Familiar with the Act and its regulations
  • Knowledgeable about any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.

The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training Regulation mandates basic occupational health and safety awareness training for all workers and supervisors.

Companies in Ontario with 20 or more employees are required to have a joint health and safety committee that complies with the OHSA. This means having at least 2 committee members - 1 worker and 1 management representative - certified in health and safety. For greenhouse operations, JHSC certification training is required if there are more than 50 workers.

Regulations amending the Ontario Fire Code have been made for greenhouses, in particular cannabis growers, relating to flammable and combustible materials and emergency exits.

The Ontario MSD Prevention Guideline is available to help you prevent MSDs in your workplace. Visit msdprevention.com to access the tool at https://www.msdprevention.com/

How WSPS Can Help

We offer health and safety solutions to help you demonstrate due diligence, give your supervisors the knowledge and skills to stay competent, and to address potential risks. Some of the services we can provide include:

  • Hazard/risk assessments
  • Occupational hygiene consulting to address air quality and exposure to allergens
  • Building an MSD prevention program
  • Machine safeguarding assessments
  • Warehouse assessments and racking inspections
  • Classroom and on-site training, as well as e-courses, on specific hazards.

For information and assistance, inquire about WSPS' consulting services at customercare@wsps.ca.

For more information explore below:

Downloads

Fall Prevention Safety Tool Kit

Fall Prevention Safety Tool Kit

Falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries and deaths in Ontario. Seventy-three workers died due to falls between 2011 and 2017.

249 KB PDF
Health & Safety Representative

Health & Safety Representative

A health and safety representative is a worker who, under section 8 of the Act, identifies health and safety hazards and provide recommendations to the employer. Learn more.
93 KB PDF
Job Aid - Cannabis and Impairment in the Workplace

Job Aid - Cannabis and Impairment in the Workplace

Use our Job Aid to help navigate the new cannabis legislation in the workplace.

109 KB PDF
Job Aid - Chemical Burns

Job Aid - Chemical Burns

Get hazard awareness information relating to chemical burns in the workplace.
616 KB PDF
Job Aid - Chemicals

Job Aid - Chemicals

"Chemicals are hazardous products, materials, and/or substances used, handled, stored or disposed of in workplaces, learn more."
580 KB PDF
Job Aid - Working at Heights

Job Aid - Working at Heights

Working at heights includes any work where a worker is exposed to a potential fall of three meters or more. Learn more about this hazard.
795 KB PDF
Job Aid - Working in Hot Environments

Job Aid - Working in Hot Environments

Working in hot environments can be a hazard and potential health risk.
492 KB PDF
Respiratory Protection

Respiratory Protection

The materials, hazards, risks and activities we are exposed to every day can cause injury to our respiratory system. This poster lists potential injuries (e.g. occupational asthma/allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), the controls we need to put in place, and the effect of respiratory injuries on people and workplaces.
771 KB PDF
Safety Check: Chemical Safety

Safety Check: Chemical Safety

Chemical safety tips for workers.
504 KB PDF
Safety Check: Working in Hot Environments

Safety Check: Working in Hot Environments

Working in hot environments safety tips for workers
453 KB 

Training

Building an MSD Prevention Program (Four 1/2 day modules)

Building an MSD Prevention Program (Four 1/2 day modules)

NEW! This course is designed for a group of individuals (employees and management) interested in working together to apply ergonomics principles in the workplace for the purpose of improving working conditions while controlling MSD hazards.

  • On-site
Call for pricing

Certification Part One - Agriculture (3 days)

Certification Part One - Agriculture (3 days)

CPO Approved! Certification training for Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) members in the Agriculture industry.

  • Classroom
  • On-site
$495.00

Certification Part One - Manufacturing (3 days)

Certification Part One - Manufacturing (3 days)

CPO Approved! Certification training for Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) members in the Manufacturing industry.

11 scheduled date(s)
  • Classroom
  • On-site
$495.00

Certification Part Two - Agriculture (2 days)

Certification Part Two - Agriculture (2 days)

CPO Approved! Certification training for Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) members in the Agriculture industry.

2 scheduled date(s)
  • Classroom
  • On-site
$405.00

Certification Part Two - Manufacturing (2 days)

Certification Part Two - Manufacturing (2 days)

CPO Approved! Certification training for Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) members in the Manufacturing industry.

74 scheduled date(s)
  • Classroom
  • On-site
$405.00

Confined Space Safety (1/2 day)

Confined Space Safety (1/2 day)

This 1/2 day instructor-led course is designed to provide participants with general, legislative, and refresher training around confined spaces.
  • Classroom
  • On-site
$149.00

Inspecting and Maintaining Steel Storage Racks (1 day)

Inspecting and Maintaining Steel Storage Racks (1 day)

REVISED! Reduce the risk of racking collapse. Learn how to properly inspect and maintain steel storage racks using the new CSA A344-17 User Guide for Steel Storage Racks.

16 scheduled date(s)
  • Classroom
  • On-site
$539.00

Supervisor Responsibilities and Due Diligence (1/2 day)

Supervisor Responsibilities and Due Diligence (1/2 day)

UPDATED & IMPROVED! Understand your legal duties to protect the health and safety of workers, your role as a leader and what it means to be duly diligent.  

26 scheduled date(s)
  • Classroom
  • On-site
$149.00

WHMIS 2015 for Workers - Instructor-Led Training (1/2 day)

WHMIS 2015 for Workers - Instructor-Led Training (1/2 day)

WHMIS 2015 training for workers delivered by a WSPS expert.
2 scheduled date(s)
  • Classroom
  • On-site
$149.00

E-Courses

Environmental Management Systems (English)

Environmental Management Systems (English)

Knowledge needed to implement an environmental management system for your organization's needs.
View Details 
$64.00

Environmental Management Systems (French)

Environmental Management Systems (French)

Knowledge needed to implement an environmental management system for your organization's needs.
View Details 
$64.00

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (English) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (English) (1 hour)

This solution explains a supervisor's role and duties regarding health and safety at the workplace.
View Details 
$15.00

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (French) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (French) (1 hour)

This solution explains a supervisor's role and duties regarding health and safety at the workplace.
View Details 
$15.00

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (English) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (English) (1 hour)

Learn about Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and your rights and responsibilities as a worker.
View Details 
$15.00

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (French) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (French) (1 hour)

Learn about Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and your rights and responsibilities as a worker.
View Details 
$15.00

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (English) (1 hour)

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (English) (1 hour)

The course provides practical advice on how to investigate and respond to indoor air problems.
View Details 
$49.00

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (French) (1 hour)

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (French) (1 hour)

The course provides practical advice on how to investigate and respond to indoor air problems.
View Details 
$49.00

Le travail en hauteur (français) (1 heure)

Le travail en hauteur (français) (1 heure)

Apprenez à évaluer et à maîtriser les risques liés au travail en hauteur.

View Details 
$49.00

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (English) (1 hour)

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (English) (1 hour)

This course covers the basics of PPE, including practical tips, programs, limitations, legal responsibilities.
View Details 
$49.00

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (French) (1 hour)

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (French) (1 hour)

This course covers the basics of PPE, including practical tips, programs, limitations, legal responsibilities.
View Details 
$49.00

WHMIS 2015 for Managers and Supervisors (English) (1.5 hours)

WHMIS 2015 for Managers and Supervisors (English) (1.5 hours)

Understand and meet your health and safety responsibilities under WHMIS 2015.

View Details 
$15.00

WHMIS 2015 for Workers (English)

WHMIS 2015 for Workers (English)

Learn about WHMIS after its alignment with GHS, an internationally consistent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information through labels and safety data sheets (SDSs).
View Details 
$15.00

Working at Heights (English) (1 hour)

Working at Heights (English) (1 hour)

Learn to assess and control hazards related to working at heights.

View Details 
$49.00