Chopra & Nocerino, LLP

How marijuana can impact worker safety

New York state is seriously considering legalizing recreational marijuana. If this occurs, it could result in safety concerns for employers in many different industries. In 2016, more than 4,600 people who worked in the private sector died while on the job. Roughly 20 percent of those who died worked in the construction industry according to the Department of Labor (DOL). In addition, employers are worried that those who fail drug tests will need to be sent home.

This could result in a shortage of available workers who can do their job well and with safety in mind. Ultimately, an employer could lose money or face delays in completing a project. If a worker gets into an accident after using marijuana, it could result in an increase in workers' compensation claims. This added cost could compound the problems caused by a lack of productivity from those who may use the substance outside of work.

Employers are also concerned that there is no standard to determine how marijuana use impacts a given worker. Those who use substances such as marijuana cost their employers up to $25,000 per year. This is because they are more likely to file workers' compensation claims and get into accidents at work. Despite concerns of companies throughout the state, the Department of Health has concluded that the benefits of legalizing marijuana outweigh the negatives.

Regardless of their severity, construction accidents may result in significant injuries or other losses for workers. This is because they may not be able to return to work or return to their current position. Individuals who are hurt in an accident may want to consider hiring an attorney. Doing so may help to preserve their rights during the process of filing a workers' compensation or personal injury claim against their employers.

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