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Safety Procedures and Technical Documentation in the Cannabis Industry

    a Gardner tending to a cannabis plant, representing the importance of technical documentation and safety procedures in the cannabis industry

    Despite a global pandemic, the cannabis industry in the U.S. reported the addition of over 77,000 new employees in 2020 in such sectors as cultivation, distribution, laboratory testing, manufacturing, and retail. With the constant influx of new employees in this industry, it is essential to develop the necessary documentation to assure workplace safety. Aside from the usual workplace safety procedures and training required, including slip, trip, and fall hazards, machine operation hazards, and ergonomic hazards associated with a wide range of industries, there is more specialized training required in the cannabis industry. For instance, cultivators, trimmers, and budtenders face unique risks through exposure to pesticides and other chemical agents related to the direct handling of cannabis. For this reason, it is important for your cannabis business to have thorough safety and training materials.  

    To this end, technical writers prove to be a vital asset in creating such documents as training materials, safety procedure documentation (including OSHA regulations), and regulatory compliance documentation. These written materials promote the maintenance of a safe workplace and an educated workforce that encourages a productive work environment. A safe and educated workforce helps to prevent serious workplace injuries as well as regulatory violation fines and reduces the threat of litigation. 

    Safety Procedure Documentation 

    Employees work in various aspects of the cannabis industry including cultivation, distribution, laboratory testing, manufacturing, and retail. Each of these sectors of the industry brings with them a certain risk involved in regards to employee safety if not properly trained. On the cultivation side of the cannabis industry, there is a particular hazard for employees through potential exposure to dangerous chemical agents. Exposure to pesticides, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, fungi, molds, and other chemical hazards can pose threats to employee health if they are not properly trained on administrative controls, and how to use PPE. Exposure to these chemical agents can result in serious health hazards and hefty fines imposed by OSHA for workplace safety violations. By obtaining the proper technical written materials, not only can your company ensure the safety of your employees, but also establish a level of trust amongst employers and employees that is crucial to the retention of your workforce. 

    A technical writer is vital to the development of the proper safety procedure documentation that is compliant with OSHA safety guidelines. Tech writers can help your cannabis business create written safety procedure materials and are highly adept at interpreting government regulations. Technical documentation is fundamental to ensuring a safe workplace and establishing well-trained employees to prevent any risk of avoidable workplace injuries and the potential for regulatory fines or litigation. 

    Training Materials for Assured Workplace Safety 

    Comprehensive training materials go hand-in-hand with safety procedure documentation and are integral to further creating a knowledgeable and safe workforce. One of the most common physical hazards in the cannabis industry occurs during the extraction process (extracting oils from the marijuana plant). Often, flammable agents, like butane, are used in this process, making the training of extraction employees imperative. To prevent the potential of burns and explosive hazards, employees working in the extraction process must be provided with the appropriate training. This includes training on electrical safety, compressed gas, and fire protection standards. Considering the level of risk, it is important for your cannabis business to have detailed training materials for new employees.

    Tech writers are well versed in the development of technically precise training materials that allow your employees to successfully and safely carry out their roles. With the continuing growth of the cannabis industry, you will need the proper training materials to better prepare new employees in every sector from cultivation to retail. Documentation of training procedures allows for increased efficiency, development of necessary skill sets, and a standardized set of training materials that make onboarding new employees straightforward.

    Regulatory Compliance and Safety in Cannabis Facilities 

    Prioritizing the safety of your employees is also important in the adherence to state regulations put in place to prevent injury and illness. To assure that cannabis facilities are in compliance with state regulations, officials from your state’s Department of Public Health conduct inspections. Among the more common hazards in the production of cannabis involves the improper identification, storage, and usage of hazardous chemicals. If the inspection results in the discovery of any safety violations set forth by your state’s DPH, you may be fined and/or have your license suspended. Evidently, it is crucial to create a safe workplace for your employees to prevent injuries but also to protect your business from penalties accrued from safety code violations. 

    In the interest of protecting your employees and your business, you will need regulatory compliance documentation in place so you and your employees are aware of safety codes and are prepared for inspections. Technical writers are highly skilled in the drafting of compliance manuals that document regulations established for your industry. With these written materials, you will be able to maintain a safe environment for your employees and avoid fines for noncompliance. Apart from preparing you for DPH inspections, regulatory compliance documentation also assists with employee training and helps you build a solid reputation with employees and consumers.   


    Written training materials, safety procedures, and regulatory compliance documents are necessary for developing a safe environment for employees. This documentation aids employees within this industry as they will develop the means to ensure their own safety and the education to maintain an efficient and productive work environment. With these tools in place, as a business owner in the cannabis industry, you can reduce the risk of regulatory fines, lawsuits resulting from workplace injuries, and also build strong relationships with your employees that assure lower employee turnover rates.  

    How can EDC help?

    Given that one of the major barriers to success in the cannabis industry is the complexity of regulations, written documentation can help your cannabis business succeed. EDC’s technical writers are extremely knowledgeable and skilled in developing a wide variety of technical documentation that is vital for every kind of business within the cannabis industry. Our technical writers have years of experience producing the kind of written materials needed by business owners in the cannabis industry. As the cannabis industry continues to grow so will regulations imposed by government agencies, regulations which can be quite confusing. EDC’s technical writers understand how to interpret and wade through the complexity of these regulations to produce detailed training materials, safety procedure documentation, and regulatory compliance documentation. 

    Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

    Written by Diana Guerra

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