Cannabis referendum: Primary sector wary of health and safety in workplace if cannabis legalised

By September 22, 2020 Recent News

NewsHub 22 September 2020
Our additional comment:“Employees in his sector drive large machinery on and off roads in dangerous places, and the idea of someone driving while impaired from cannabis is simply frightening, said chief executive of Rural Contractors Association Roger Parton.”

Legalising of recreational cannabis could increase health and safety risks for the primary sector, say wary employers.

The sector already has one of the highest workplace accident and death rates in the country, and leaders say it could be another risk if the referendum gets support on October 17.

Chris Lewis from Federated Farmers said while the organisation doesn’t have a stance on the referendum it does have concerns about the health and safety implications if the bill is passed into law.

He said farming already has a high accident rate around livestock and machinery, and workers need to be aware of what is around them without being impaired.

“One of those things is you have to be sober and have no drugs in your system,” Lewis said.

“You could cause injury to yourself, injury to animals and injury to your workmates.

“Farmers, alongside the rest of the country take health and safety very seriously, so if this does pass we would like to see the government not make it a hard task to get rid of it out of the workplace.”

According to WorkSafe New Zealand’s data centre, 23 people died in a workplace death in the agricultural sector between July 2019 and June 2020; and over 2000 people required more than one week off work due to an injury between January 2019 and December 2019.

The most common accidents causing injury involved vehicles.