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BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hosting a forum in Bend, this week, designed to help marijuana-related businesses keep employees safe. Aaron Corvin, with OSHA, says the emerging industry faces unique safety challenges. "You have growing processes, extraction processes; you’re looking at electrical safety, you’re looking at systems that involve pressure, systems that involve gasses. Really, as folks are getting into this, the idea is we need to be focusing on safety first."


Oregon's Department of Agriculture will be there. Cory Stengel, with the Oregon Farm Bureau's Health and Safety Committee, says harvesting cannabis poses its own dangers, "After the plant is harvested, there's a lot of repetitive motion involved in processing the flower or the bud of the cannabis plant. And, there's some extreme explosion hazards associated with processing the oils out of these plants. 


The forum called “Safety and health in the cannabis industry: from seed to shatter” starts Tuesday as part of OSHA’s regional conference, at the Riverhouse. OSHA's Corvin tells KBND News, "Our goal here is to bring a number of voices together and that includes, not only Oregon OSHA but we’re also talking about OLCC, building codes, fire safety; and that comes from both the public and private side. So, we’re going to have employers who have been in this business, speaking in Bend, and that’s really going to be about sharing information – best practices, if you will." But, he says, what makes the marijuana industry different is its history in the shadows, "We talk about people and their right to a safe and healthy workplace, and that cuts across industries; not just cannabis. But, when we’re talking about specifically cannabis, and this being an emerging industry, we’re emphasizing first, ‘you’ve got people to take care of.’ Also, quite frankly, it’s a sound business decision to make sure your worksite is safe."


Click HERE for more information on this week's conference, and to register. 

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