Young Workers’ Marijuana Use May Be Prompting Increased Injuries

By Alana Smart / March 6, 2024 / Blog ,

Injured Young Worker

Young Workers’ Marijuana Use May Be Prompting Increased Injuries

The legalization of recreational marijuana has prompted many debates about its potential effects on workplace safety. A recent study reveals a significant increase in workplace injuries among younger workers in states where recreational marijuana laws have been adopted. With 24 states currently permitting recreational marijuana use, young worker’s marijuana use is a concern for employers. 

The study was led by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The researchers analyzed workplace injury data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses spanning from 2006 to 2020. They looked at 632 state-by-year observations with information on age-specific workplace injuries. 

Their findings indicate a statistically significant correlation between the adoption of recreational marijuana laws and an uptick in workplace injuries among workers aged 20 to 34. States where recreational marijuana sales are legal have seen a nearly 10% increase in on-the-job injuries among 20- to 34-year-old workers in recent years. Additionally, the injury rate per 100 workers has risen by 8.4% in states that permit recreational marijuana use. Interestingly, in states where recreational marijuana sales remain prohibited, researchers did not observe similar links.

Insights and Speculations

Based on these findings, the researchers hypothesize that recreational marijuana use may hinder cognitive function and care among younger workers. Which is potentially increasing the risk of workplace injuries. Conversely, they speculate that marijuana consumption among older workers may serve as a form of pain management rather than for recreational purposes, suggesting varying dynamics across age groups.

Implications for Employers

With the legalization of recreational marijuana, there has been a noticeable increase in workplace injuries. As a result, employers must prioritize the well-being of their employees while also complying with the changing legal requirements. It is crucial for employers to stay updated on state regulations to ensure that they are following them. Additionally, they should establish comprehensive drug policies, implement effective safety protocols, increase awareness about the potential risks of marijuana use in the workplace. Employers can also provide educational resources to employees, and promote a culture of safety that prioritizes employee health and well-being. Taking proactive steps to guarantee the safety and health of their employees while on the job is essential for all employers.



Ready to take proactive steps for a safer and more compliant workplace? NMS Health is your ally in creating a customized, all-encompassing drug testing policy that aligns with your industry and local mandates. Get started today and discover how we can simplify your approach!

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