As most of our readers probably know, California now allows adults to use marijuana even for purely recreational purposes. As a result, it is becoming more and more common for people to report to work with the drug in their systems. In another state that has also legalized marijuana, for instance, up to 1 out of 5 applicants for jobs in the construction industry and other sectors would test positive for remnants of the drug in their systems. In fairness, though, residual chemicals from marijuana can remain in one’s system for days or even weeks, long after the effects of the drug have worn off.
Despite what the laws of the state say, according to one safety group, construction workers who are in high-risk positions should not use the drug at all and thus should never have it in their systems. A high-risk position would include occupations like a crane operator or an operator of heavy construction equipment. In support of its position, the group points to research that suggests workers who use marijuana, even for medicinal reasons, had 55% more accidents and 85% more injuries than their counterparts who do not use the drug at all. Moreover, the organization also said that the drug unquestionably has the ability to adversely affect a user’s judgment and coordination.
The organization did leave open the possibility that those who are legally using marijuana could work in positions which present fewer safety concerns. The bottom line for those in the San Mateo area who work in the construction industry, and anyone who has to be around a construction site for that matter, is that they may be at a heightened risk because of workers who are using marijuana.
While workers’ compensation benefits may be available following these sorts of drug-related accidents, depending on the circumstances, a victim may also be able to file a personal injury case. Consulting an experienced attorney may be one way to determine whether one’s work accident comes under the scope of work-related.