The Path Forward to a Safer Cannabis Industry

Two a long time ago, California turned the initial point out to legalize the healthcare use of hashish. In 2021, health-related use of hashish is lawful is 36 US states, and 17 states enable grownup (‘recreational’) use. This development of swift legalization of the cannabis marketplace, though encouraging for field development, attracts far more attention from federal regulatory bodies these types of as the Occupational Security and Wellbeing Administration (OSHA). Subsequent a quantity of incidents and near misses, cannabis facilities have been significantly frequented by OSHA visits, main to a spike in citations and fines. A evaluation of earlier OSHA citations reveals that the most frequent citations in the hashish business pertains to the employer’s absence of awareness about the harmful mother nature of some operations and materials taken care of in the facility. This prospects to an absence of a formal fire avoidance prepare, lack of suitable harmful chemical teaching, deficiency in correct documentation linked to place of work harm and minimal evaluation of expected individual protecting tools (PPE).1

Hashish industry knowledge suggests that as of today, an incident is generally followed by an OSHA inspection.  This normally prospects to the facility asking, ‘How do we get ready for an OSHA inspection and avert potential citations?’ The respond to is a blend of figuring out and mitigating hazards in progress to prevent incidents and acquiring administration devices that aid the identification and risk mitigation efforts. Recent collaboration concerning cannabis small business house owners and companies that generate codes and expectations have delivered a framework in which to deal with the industry’s distinctive protection problems to aid lessen inherent risk to a facility. These codes and expectations normally influence creating construction/safety capabilities and operation of the facility, on the other hand, further risk mitigation can be drawn from the greatest practices presently in put in method industries with very similar hazards. These method industries have embraced approach safety administration (PSM) systems, which are developed all over ideas adaptable more than enough to be successfully executed in the cannabis business. Adopting this sort of plans will provide the twin intent of improving the over-all protection document of the hashish business when boosting business sustainability2 and support prevent activities that direct to OSHA citations.

Determine 1. Possibility Centered Course of action Basic safety Administration Program

The possibility-dependent procedure protection (RBPS) solution produced by the Center for Chemical Method Security (CCPS)3 may show to be the most successful framework to put into action PSM applications in the hashish business. Compared with the prescriptive regulatory strategy furnished by OSHA 29 CFR 1910.119, the RBPS methodology recognizes that not all hazards and risks are equal. By examining chance, an organization can produce an productive management procedure that will prioritize allocation of constrained means to address the highest threats. Figure 1 reveals the four foundational blocks (pillars) of RBPS and the a variety of elements that make up each individual pillar.

If a cannabis enterprise operator had been to acquire packages on every of the pillars offered in Determine 1, a comprehensive protection method would be in location that provides sustainable chance reduction and mitigation.  Even so, as with any business, the factors can be prioritized and tackled about time, commencing with the factors acquiring the most affect on the all round safety of a given facility. For illustration, a provided facility could have wonderful methods and techniques, but may not constantly educate or instill worker knowledge or competency. Conversely, a facility may well have staff with wonderful awareness of hazards and threats, but are considerably less created with regard to documenting treatments, protected methods or schooling for new hires. Focusing accessible assets on the less formulated aspects will direct to an overall advancement in facility chance, leading to a lower chance of an incident and OSHA inspection.

Determine 2. Still image from surveillance movie of an explosion at New MexiCann Pure Drugs in July 2015.

As with any industry, constructive and adverse community notion is driven by the media, which tends to concentration on focus-grabbing headlines. The greater part of previous incidents claimed in the information for the hashish sector were explosions that transpired through the extraction approach. One particular this kind of extraction explosion, proven in Determine 2, happened in July 2015 at the New MexiCann Natural Medicine facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With a concentrate on the ‘hazard identification and danger analysis’ pillar of RBPS, foreseeable future these types of functions could be mitigated.

Of the twenty RBPS components, hazard identification and danger analysis (HIRA) stands out as having the optimum opportunity for quick impression on the cannabis industry’s security profile.

HIRA is a collection of pursuits carried out via the daily life cycle of a facility to be certain that the challenges to staff members and the community are frequently monitored to be inside an organization’s danger tolerance. The 4 significant areas to assess are:

  • Dangers – What are the probable deviations from the design intent?
  • Outcomes – What are the worst possible effects (or severity) if any deviation occurs?
  • Safeguards – Are there safeguards in the technique to lower the likelihood of this event?
  • Hazard – Is the hazard within just the tolerable level? If not, what steps are essential to cut down the chance? (Severity X Likelihood = Risk)

Figure 3. A simplified HIRA circulation chart for an Extraction Procedure

Allow us think about an case in point scenario where the extraction approach makes use of propane or butane as the extracting solvent. Determine 3 reveals a simplified HIRA movement chart for the extraction procedure.

This systematic solution can help to have an understanding of the dangers and examine the related danger. In addition, this tactic highlights operator schooling as a important safeguard that can be credited to lessen the total hazard of the extraction facility. Try to remember, lack of correct basic safety instruction (yet another component!) is 1 of the most cited OSHA violations in the cannabis industry. A different benefit to the HIRA methodology is that other safeguards that may perhaps be existing can be recognized, their effectiveness evaluated and more possibility reduction steps may possibly be recognized. This will aid company owners allocate their confined sources on the crucial safeguards that supply the greatest possibility reduction. Determining, examining and resolving for likely dangers is a vital step in protected operation of a facility and avoiding OSHA citations.

Although this article discusses only a single RBPS factor, this illustration demonstrates how very best methods from method industries can turn out to be a strong resource for use in the cannabis sector. The “hazard identification and risk analysis” ingredient of the RBPS tactic is pertinent not only for the extraction course of action as mentioned higher than, but also straight relevant to other factors of the industry (e.g., dust explosions in harvesting and processing amenities, poisonous impacts from fertilizers, hazards from the CO2 enrichment process in increasing amenities, etc.).


  1. Top 5 OSHA Infractions for Cannabis Businesses
  2. The Business Case for Method Protection 4th Version Heart for Chemical Approach Basic safety 2018
  3. Pointers for Danger Dependent Process Security Center for Chemical Course of action Safety: An AICHE Know-how Alliance printed March 2007
  4. Movie: Explosion rips by means of healthcare marijuana facility