The legalization of recreational marijuana in Ohio presents new challenges for the construction industry in maintaining a safe and productive work environment. Employers need to understand the implications of the new law and adapt their policies to ensure compliance while prioritizing worker safety.

In Ohio, a failed drug test for recreational or medical marijuana alone may not be sufficient grounds to deny a worker’s compensation claim. Employers must establish a causal link between the drugs found in the employee’s system and the accident. Unlike alcohol, there is currently no reliable measuring device, such as a breathalyzer, to determine impairment caused by marijuana. THC deposits can remain in a user’s fat cells for up to 30 days, leading to positive test results even if the individual was sober at the time of the accident. Employers should carefully consider the implications of drug test results and seek additional evidence to support their case.

Construction employers should also develop clear policies that explicitly prohibit cannabis use during work hours and on company premises, including in employees’ vehicles parked on company property. By clearly communicating these policies, employers can set expectations and minimize potential risks associated with marijuana use. It’s important to effectively communicate any changes made to policies regarding marijuana use. By documenting employees’ understanding of the policy changes, employers can mitigate potential misunderstandings and establish a consistent approach to marijuana use in the workplace.

Prioritize safety by educating managers and supervisors on the signs of impairment caused by marijuana use. Training programs should cover topics such as identifying impaired behavior, testing protocols, and disciplinary policies. By equipping leaders with the necessary knowledge, employers can maintain a safe work environment and mitigate potential risks.

To maintain a safe and productive job site while complying with the law, construction employers should stay informed, review and update policies, and provide comprehensive training.

Learn more about minimizing your risk, check out our construction safety page.

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