The ‘train has left the station’ on this WC issue

The ‘train has left the station’ on this WC issue | Insurance Business America

The ‘train has left the station’ on this WC issue
The nation’s small-business owners are still divided in their opinions on medical marijuana, but new poll results suggest at least one in five are willing to allow the drug in the workplace with a doctor’s note.
 
The survey, conducted by small-business insurance specialist EMPLOYERS, raises questions about workplace safety and the role of workers’ compensation coverage in an era of legalized cannabis use.
 
“We encourage all small businesses to maintain drug-free workplaces because employees who are under the influence of illicit substances, or misuse or abuse prescription drugs, can put themselves, other employees or customers at risk of injury or other harm,” said Dr. Dwight Robertson, medical director for EMPLOYERS. “The most important step employers can take is to have a clearly documented workplace safety policy that specifically addresses drug use in the workplace.”
 
Yet a full 42% of small businesses do not have a written policy regarding marijuana, and 81% of company owners say they are unconcerned about the issue – even though nearly one in 10 indicated that employees have shown up for work under the influence of a controlled substance like marijuana or narcotic painkillers.
 
The issue of medical marijuana in the workers’ comp arena is approaching a crucial tipping point.
 
“It’s definitely a concern—especially given these stories that tug at the heartstrings about seizures that can only be controlled by marijuana,” said PRIUM Senior Vice President Mark Pew in an earlier interview. “The question is, should there be constraints around it, or should it just be locally legalized?”
 
If producers don’t take the first step of establishing consistent standards when it comes to medical marijuana, employers could be left open to both federal lawsuits and workplace liabilities in which an employee using marijuana paid for by the employer injures themselves or another worker.
 
“Medical marijuana is a societal inevitability, and workers’ comp professionals need to figure out how they’ll deal with it,” he said. “In many cases, the train has left the station and you’ll either be riding the train or driving the train, or you’re going to get run over by the train.”