Workplace and non-workplace cannabis use and the risk of workplace injury: findings from a longitudinal study of Canadian workers
Objectives: Findings of previous studies examining the relationship between cannabis use and workplace injury have been conflicting, likely due to methodological shortcomings, including cross-sectional designs and exposure measures that lack consideration for timing of use. The objective was to estimate the association between workplace cannabis use (before and/or at work) and non-workplace use and the risk of workplace injury. Methods: Canadian workers participating in a yearly longitudinal study (from 2018 to 2020) with at least two adjacent years of survey data comprised the analytic sample (n = 2745). The exposure was past-year workplace cannabis use (no past-year use, non-workplace use, workplace use). The outcome was past-year workplace injury (yes/no). Absolute risks and relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated between workplace and non-workplace cannabis use at one time point and workplace injury at the following time point. Models were adjusted for personal and work variables and were also stratified by whether respondents' jobs were safety-sensitive. Results: Compared to no past-year cannabis use, there was no difference in workplace injury risk for non-workplace cannabis use (RR 1.09, 95%CI 0.83-1.44). However, workplace use was associated with an almost two-fold increased risk of experiencing a workplace injury (RR 1.97, 95%CI 1.32-2.93). Findings were similar for workers in safety-sensitive and non-safety-sensitive work. Conclusion: It is important to distinguish between non-workplace and workplace use when considering workplace safety impacts of cannabis use. Findings have implications for workplace cannabis use policies and substantiate the need for worker education on the risks of workplace cannabis use.