Engaging Employees in Workplace Safety

The long term success of the medical cannabis industry rides on its people. Business leaders will push the overall strategy and direction, but it is their employees who will primarily be tasked with making the company go.  Employee engagement and safety is paramount to any business, and the cannabis industry is no different.  One great way to help foster engagement in the safety program is through the formation of a safety committee.  Safety committees increase buy in among employees, improve relationships between employees and management, help efficiently solve safety issues, and ultimately make your grow facility or dispensary a better place to work.  The discount on worker’s compensation insurance for those in Pennsylvania is only an added bonus!  Below we’ve highlighted a few key considerations when forming a safety committee.

  1. Choose your members wisely! It is important to choose employees who are already engaged with the organization and are mid to high-performing employees. Ideally they have some informal influence within the organization but are not necessarily in a management position. Provide opportunity for new members to join periodically throughout the year and also rotate members on a regularly scheduled basis to continually have fresh eyes on the safety function of the organization.
  2. Address safety concerns and issues immediately: Not only will this positively impact the overall safety of your workforce, but it will also help your safety committee gain credibility as an impactful program within the organization. Give all employees a medium through which they can submit safety improvements and suggestions. Communicate who is on the safety committee to the entire organization so employees know who to go to with safety concerns.
  3.  Include technical training: Equip not just members of the committee but all employees with the skills and training needed to perform daily tasks in a safe and efficient manner. Training on proper lifting techniques, CPR certification, and fire safety are all great ways to ensure a safer employee population. Regularly conduct personal protection equipment assessments especially in areas with a higher exposure to C02, CO, pesticides, and fungicides.

Finally, do not create your safety committee on your own! Partner with a risk management consultant who can advise on choosing members, attend initial meetings, and even provide meeting content.  One great meeting topic to consider right away is employee crime response training.  Be sure to check out Viridis Security Group’s blog on Employee Crime Response Training for more ideas.

– The Viridis Team

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We Received a Medical Cannabis License…Now What?!

The exciting launch of Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program has left a select few businesses racing to operationalize as the first quarter of 2018 quickly approaches. Teams have been finalized, land has been secured, and build outs have begun. An often overlooked aspect of any company’s build out is the insurance program. As groups begin to release capital in the coming weeks and months, it is important to ask the following three key questions:

  1. Do we own the property? Let’s assume, given the short timeframe to operationalize, that the answer is yes. Is your business covered in the event of an injury that occurs on the land you now own? General Liability coverage is imperative for any business and the cannabis industry is no exception. Be sure to carefully review the policy forms to ensure coverage extends to construction exposures at ALL of your operating locations.
  2. Have we started construction? If your answer is yes, it is important to evaluate the need for Builder’s Risk coverage. Builder’s Risk insurance is designed to cover the property itself in the course of construction. Review any contracts held between your general contractor and subcontractors to determine where each party’s insurable interest begins and ends.
  3. Have we hired employees? Businesses in PA with employees on payroll are legally obligated to obtain Workers Compensation insurance. A Workers Compensation claim could arise simply from an employee driving to and from the bank if he or she is acting within the breadth and scope of their duty as an employee. Workers Compensation premium is based on the class of employee and the corresponding payroll dollars associated with that class. Many new ventures experience difficulty projecting their first year payroll in order to receive a rate from the Workers Compensation carrier. For this reason it is important to partner with an insurance company that allows quarterly audits so that your plan accurately reflects projected payroll for the year.

The infant stages of any young business will always have certain risks associated with it. It is important that your business partners with a risk management consultant that understands the cannabis industry and does not advise purchasing coverage not needed at this stage in your operation. A final vital consideration during the build out is your security plan. Securing your facilities properly will ultimately lead to a decrease in the need for insurance claims. Check out our partner, Viridis Security Group, and their blog on “Four Security Considerations for New Cannabis Businesses” for more information.

– The Viridis Team

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