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Marijuana combined with machinery can bring permanent impairment

Although it is legal to use medical marijuana in Ohio, some business owners are serious about maintaining drug-free workplaces. The executive vice president of a company that does metal stamping is adamant that workers who operate the complicated, heavy machinery at his facility need to be clear-headed at all times. He says it is precision work, and the slightest error can lead to permanent impairment.

This company exercises its right to have a drug policy that prohibits the use of marijuana. Workers may not use marijuana at all -- not even for medicinal purposes. The prohibition includes lunch hours, and because the substance remains in a user's system for as long as 30 days, using the drug at home is also forbidden.

The VP says the company's machines are unforgiving, and in the event of a workplace accident, the employee will be tested for the presence of drugs in his or her system. If any drugs, including medical marijuana, are detected, the worker may lose his or her job. When the Ohio legislature passed the bill to allow medical marijuana, it included protection for business owners that enables them to choose to keep their facilities drug free.

Several other Ohio companies have reported similar stances when it comes to their employees using medical marijuana. Workers who suffer permanent impairment as the result of a workplace injury may have to submit to a drug test. Although the workers' compensation system is a no-fault program, benefits claims might be rejected if there is proof of drug use under these circumstances. Workers have the right to seek the help of an experienced workers' comp attorney to make sure they are treated fairly and secure the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: whio.com, "Medical marijuana in the workplace", July 24, 2017

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