Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards [and how to avoid them]

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety is more critical now than ever. At a time when other industries seem to be struggling to keep afloat, the marijuana industry is the fastest growing industry that hires more and more employees every day. According to the BLS, 5.5 million jobs in the manufacturing industry were lost between 2000 and 2017. However, the legal cannabis market is expected to have over a quarter-million jobs by the year 2020.

While other industries struggle to keep afloat, the marijuana industry is the fastest-growing. Hiring more and more employees every day. According to the BLS, 5.5 million jobs in the manufacturing industry were lost between 2000 and 2017. Yet, the legal cannabis market expects to have over a quarter-million jobs by the year 2020.

Despite high employment, the industry faces some safety hazards, just like other industries. OSHA General Duty Clause – in Section 5 (a) (1) states that you as an employer should provide your employees with a workplace free from identifiable hazards that have the potentiality to cause serious harm or even death to your workers.

Cannabis Industry Safety

The Cannabis Industry includes:

  • Cultivation
  • Distribution
  • Laboratory testing
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail

Marijuana Industry Safety Hazard Breakdown

Meanwhile, Most of the hazards in the marijuana industry are like those experienced in other industries. Be aware of Grow House Hazards to avoid disasters. These hazards break down into three main categories: biological, physical, and chemical.

Biological Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards biological hazards

For instance, these types of hazards can arise from working with marijuana plants. Some of the common biological agents include bacteria and fungi. Meanwhile, these agents can affect the health of your workers by causing the throat, skin and eye irritation, nasal congestion, and other physical health effects.

Some of the most likely biological hazards that your employees may encounter include:

Mold

Employees assigned to cultivating and trimming of marijuana can be exposed to mold. Mold growth and mold spores are most likely to occur due to the high humidity levels that are required for the production of marijuana. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the production of marijuana requires humidity levels of 70 percent.

Also, the presence of mold and mold spores in the air can cause breathing problems, coughing, wheezing, exacerbation of asthmatic conditions, and other respiratory infections.

In other words, to protect your employees from mold, you need to control moisture levels. Standing water may increase the humidity levels, and you may have to invest in proper irrigation methods.

You can also combat moisture by vacuuming instead of sweeping and increasing ventilation. Yet, you may not always know the mold spore levels after using the recommended control strategies. Ensure that your workers always wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE).

The right PPE will provide your employees with skin, eye, and respiratory protection.

Sensitizer and Allergens

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards respiratory hazards

As a result, several reported cases describing episodes of employees in the marijuana industry experiencing allergic reactions. Including anaphylaxis, and hypersensitivity to marijuana. For example, employees whose skin gets into direct contact may experience itchy skin, hives, and puffy or swollen eyes.

Like many other sensitizers, initial exposure to the plant may result in a normal response. But, repeated exposure may lead to an abnormal response. As a result, Allergens can cause itchiness, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
If it’s not possible to cut exposure to these allergens, start by improving the ventilation. Also consider job rotation, worker training, and using the right PPE.

Physical Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards electrical hazards

Likewise, the marijuana industry shares several physical hazards from other industries.
Some of the common physical hazards include:

Compressed Gas

In the production of marijuana, you have to use various gases such as carbon dioxide for enrichment purposes. The use of large quantities of these gases can be a threat to your employee’s safety. Compressed gases are dangerous due to the high pressure inside the cylinders. So to prevent injuries, ensure that your employees understand and use the right safety precautions.

Electrical

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards fire hazards

But for marijuana to grow, it needs a great deal of energy. Several hazards can emanate from temporary wiring, blocked electrical panels, missing breakers. And the use of electricity at high humidity levels, overloaded circuits, and lack of electrical training, among other electrical hazards.

Apart from electrical hazards, the law requires protecting your employees from dangerous energy sources.

Avoid grow house fires! Review Cannabis Industry Safety hazards present in all these areas:

  • Lighting hazards
  • Flammable or combustible liquids
  • Noise
  • Occupational injuries
  • Confined spaces

Chemical Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards chemical hazards

Further, chemicals used in the production of marijuana pose several health and safety hazards. To keep your workers safe, it’s important to provide information on any harmful substances. The best way to inform your employees is through training and information about various chemicals. You can do this through SDSs (Safety Data Sheets).

Some Cannabis Industry Safety chemical hazards in the marijuana industry include:

Carbon Dioxide

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards carbon dioxide

Also, Employees in the marijuana industry who work in cultivation may encounter carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is often used in dry ice or liquid gas to speed up plant growth. And in the extraction process for the production of concentrates. Carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant, which means that it displaces oxygen.

Symptoms of carbon dioxide exposure include dizziness, headache, increased heart rate, rapid breathing. And in extreme cases, it can cause unconsciousness and death.

This explains why most industries that face carbon dioxide hazards have monitoring devices.

To protect your employees, it is important that you know about the health and safety hazards of carbon dioxide. Install carbon dioxide monitors and also maintain them. Avoid using dry ice in confined places, and when your employees are handling it, they should always use the right PPE.

The right PPE may include safety glasses and disposable gloves. Additionally, it’s also important to train your employees on the harmful effects of carbon dioxide and symptoms of exposure.

Carbon Monoxide

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards carbon monoxide

Your employees are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide during the production of marijuana. The high levels of carbon monoxide can overcome your employees without warning. The CDC reported a total of 2,244 deaths resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning. This affects employees that work in spaces with limited ventilation. 

Subsequently, Carbon dioxide can cause illness, coma, neurological damage, and death. Keep your employees safe by installing carbon monoxide monitors. And ensure that you have a ventilation system that can remove carbon monoxide.

Pesticides

Production of marijuana requires the use of insecticides and fungicides. Yet, some pesticides can cause skin and respiratory hazards. Employees cultivating or harvesting marijuana, loading or applying pesticides, cleaning equipment used in the application of pesticides can be affected.

According to the EPA Agricultural Worker Protection Standards, it’s mandatory for all employees applying pesticides or fungicides to be aware of the risks as indicated by the manufacturer. It is also important for your employees to wear the right PPE to protect them against exposure.

Protect Your Workers

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards PPE

In short, your workers are the lifeblood of your cannabis cultivation business. However, like other industries, your facility has the potential to expose your workers to several hazards. Such as dust, pesticides, UV light, marijuana resin, and mold spores among other hazards.

Exposure to these hazards has both short-term and long-term negative effects.

Additionally, the cleanliness of items used in the production of marijuana is important in the result of the product.

These circumstances affect indoor marijuana cultivation where conditions tend to be warm and damp, and have inadequate ventilation.

To sum up, given the unique Cannabis Industry Safety hazards, you should be familiar with the potential risks. Mitigate these hazards that can affect you, your product, and your employees. Use the right safety equipment and procedures.

Take a look at personal protective equipment, especially respiratory protection for cannabis industries and others.

For more Cannabis Industry Safety regulations and training specific to California, head to Cal/OSHA.

Cleanroom Disposables 101

Consumables in the Cleanroom

You should acquire the right cleanroom disposables for your controlled or sensitive workplace. The correct apparel will prevent the contamination and subsequent compromise of the equipment and products in the environment.

Under ideal circumstances, you should acquire apparel to cover the entire body to minimize the risk of pollution and promote optimal worker protection. However, it is also important to evaluate the specific needs of your commercial, industrial or medical operation.

Here is a practical guide on the essential disposable apparel for your cleanroom or other controlled work environment.

Cleanroom Gloves

TechniGlove Nitrile Cleanroom Glove
TechniGlove Nitrile Cleanroom Glove

Disposable cleanroom gloves are designed to facilitate contamination control in the workplace. These are essential for your environment if you need to guarantee sterility of areas such as laboratories and cleanrooms.

When choosing your gloves, you should consider the workplace needs in terms of glove sterility, hand sizing and allergy concerns. You will find a range of sterile, latex and nitrile gloves online at Harmony.

Cleanroom Gloves are disposable gloves designed and clean-processed for contamination control and sterility required work environments including cleanrooms, laboratory and ESD work areas.

Minimize sub-micron particle contamination by using gloves designed and manufactured for Cleanrooms.

Cleanroom Coveralls

Premier Pro SMS Blue Coveralls with Hood & Boot
Premier Pro SMS Blue Coveralls with Hood & Boot

Disposable coveralls provide whole body protection, minimizing contact with contaminants. Coveralls are ideal for use in your workplace if you are involved in processes such as mixing chemicals, spraying liquids and handling particulates.

When purchasing your cleanroom coveralls, you should compare the benefits of using a standard coverall versus choosing apparel with attached hood and boots.

Disposable Coveralls provide protection from chemicals and particles in cleanrooms, laboratories, production environments, and more.

Cleanroom Lab Coats & Cleanroom Frocks

Premier Pro Blue SMS Frocks
Premier Pro Blue SMS Frocks

Cleanroom lab coats, frocks and jackets are perfect for protecting workers against soiling and controlling workplace contamination. There is a range of cleanroom disposables in this category, and you can choose the most suitable in terms of material, apparel size, general design and features like pockets.

Whether you are interested in low lint apparel for general industrial application or microporous coats for cleanrooms, you will find suitable products at Harmony.

Disposable lab coats and frocks offer protection without having to worry about laundering. Simply wear one and dispose of it properly after each use.

Frocks and lab coats are frequently used in industrial applications such as cleanrooms, laboratories or medical settings.

Cleanroom Shoe Covers

Polyethylene Coated Large White Shoe Covers

Shoe covers are essential products for protecting specific spaces against contamination due to particles lingering on shoes.

If you have a controlled work environment such as a medical facility, cleanroom or pharmaceutical operation, you can invest in heavy-duty shoe covers. There are also light-duty shoe covers for general uses like open house attendance.

These products can be used for an amazing array of applications, from preventing dirt accumulation from repairman and open houses to more demanding jobs in cleanrooms, medical facilitates, pharmaceutical environments, food processing and industrial spaces.

Cleanroom Boot Covers

Cleanroom Boot Covers
Keystone ISO 5 Cleanroom Boot Covers with Skid-Resistant Sole

Work boots are often needed in workplaces such as laboratories, processing operations and cleanrooms for worker protection. However, these can increase workplace contamination.

Disposable boot covers are designed using tough material for resilience, and the opening is elastic for a close fit. You can also choose fluid-resistant and skid-free covers for optimal performance.

Keep dirt and dust out of work spaces and keep employees safe while moving about your lab, cleanroom or work area. 

Avoid cross-contamination by keeping boots clean with disposable boot covers.

Cleanroom Face Masks

Cleanroom Face Masks
Ultraguard Blue Cleanroom Face Masks

Cleanroom face masks are crucial for protecting the work environment and the worker from contamination.

When shopping for face masks for sensitive applications such as research facilities, medical manufacturing and laboratories, you should choose disposables with ear loops and cleanroom rating for optimal protection.

If you work in a cleanroom, you know that one of the most important elements of cleanliness and safety within that environment is protecting your body and the area from contamination.

Wearing cleanroom masks can make a critical difference, but not all masks are the same. They will help protect the environment from contaminants from your mouth and body.

Cleanroom Beard Covers

Cleanroom Beard Covers
White Polypropylene Cleanroom Beard Covers

Disposable beard covers are designed to prevent the contamination of critical work areas by loose hairs from the beard. These cleanroom disposables are indispensable in laboratories and food processing operation.

It is important to note that the wrong beard covers can be uncomfortable. Therefore, ensure that your chosen products are lightweight and breathable.

Disposable Beard Covers prevent loose hairs from falling into food or critical/sensitive areas. Help keep your work environments clean and safe.

Cleanroom Arm Sleeves

Cleanroom Arm Sleeves
Keyguard Microporous 18″ Cleanroom Arm Sleeves

Sleeve protectors or disposable arm sleeves provide an additional layer of shielding against workplace hazards.

These cleanroom disposable will create a reliable shield over bare skin and clothing sleeves against chemicals and particles. The sleeves are made using a range of materials, including polypropylene, microporous, Kevlar and polyethylene.

Disposable sleeve protectors (or arm covers) are used as another layer of liquid or chemical barrier protection for the forearm. Protective sleeves can be worn over bare skin or over clothing.

Cleanroom Bouffant Caps

Cleanroom Bouffant Caps
Cleanroom Polypropylene Bouffant Caps

Bouffant caps are necessary for a range of workplaces, including food processing, pharmaceuticals and laboratories. The caps will prevent hairs and other particles from contaminating products and equipment.

Moreover, the apparel keeps hair from the neck and face. When shopping for bouffant caps, look for breathable products.

There are many industries when wearing a cap is mandatory, including food processing, electronic, pharmaceutical, medical, science labs and general industry.

These caps help to prevent minute particles from reaching products or equipment. In addition, they effectively keep hair out of your eyes and away from your work area.

Cleanroom Wipes

Cleanroom Wipes
Cleanroom Wipes

Cleanroom wipes are not the same as regular wipes. These products have low levels of lint to prevent particle contamination in the workplace.

Also, these products are softer to guarantee that sensitive devices and equipment are not damaged. Moreover, you can choose wipes with higher absorbency and resistance to chemicals and abrasion.

Like the cleanrooms themselves, cleanroom wipes have different classifications to be used in corresponding cleanrooms.

Choose cleanroom wipes that are produced in cleanroom environments, to ensure the highest possible quality.

Cleanroom Swabs

Cleanroom Swabs
TekniSwab 5″ Paddle Tip Microfiber Cleanroom Swab

Cleanroom swabs are high-quality precision swabs designed for use in critical environments. Unlike standard swabs, these cleanroom disposables provide residue-free performance.

Therefore, they will not leave particles which would contaminate your sensitive space. When choosing cleanroom swabs, you should check the sizing, shaft materials and tip design.

Cleanroom Documentation

Cleanroom Documentation
Cleanroom Notebooks

Write, print, and photocopy in clean environments. Without worry of paper particle or pen ink contamination. Keep your area clean of paper contaminants.

Writing, photocopying and printing in clean workplaces can be challenging because of the potential of ink and paper contamination.

Therefore, if you are working in a sensitive environment, you must purchase cleanroom documentation products. You will find ideal products for your needs, including notebooks, pens, sticky notes and clipboards.

Cleanroom Copy Paper
Cleanroom Copy Paper

If you are looking for cleanroom disposables for your commercial, industrial or other operation, consider looking for quality products from Harmony Business Supplies. You will find the full range of protective apparel and other essential items for your cleanroom and critical environment at affordable prices.

How to Avoid Germs This Flu Season

How to Avoid Germs This Flu Season

Ways to Avoid Germs this Flu Season

Germs are a concern year-round, especially in shared environments like workplaces. Yet, during flu season, it’s particularly important to avoid picking up any germs. According to the CDC, flu viruses can range in severity from mild to severe, and for more than 4,600 people per year, they’re even fatal.

The flu is most dangerous for elderly individuals, pregnant women, children, and people with certain preexisting medical conditions. With that being said, even people in excellent health can become severely ill from particularly strong strains of the virus. Since no one wants to spend days (or in some cases, even weeks) feeling their worst, there are a few tips you can implement to keep flu germs at bay in your family, workplace, and community:

Talk to Your Doc . . .

They’ll likely recommend the flu shot for you and your family members – it’s the single best way to prevent contracting the illness. Only a select portion of the population – including those who have had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine – should avoid flu shots. However, it’s always a good idea to get a professional’s opinion. Also, keep in mind that flu vaccinations wear off over time. The vaccine is updated each year to reflect current strains, so be sure to follow the vaccination schedule recommended by your physician.

. . . Don’t Consider Yourself “Immune”

If you’ve received a flu vaccination, it doesn’t mean you’re completely immune to contracting the virus. In fact, the CDC reports the risk of contracting the flu is reduced by 40-60% in patients who receive the vaccine. The overwhelming majority of medical experts still consider it worth getting, but know that it protects against certain strains than others. This means you’ll still need to take precautions to avoid falling ill, so keep reading even if you’ve received or plan to receive a flu shot.

Encourage Employees to Stay Home

The best way to keep flu germs out of the workplace is to prevent infected employees from bringing them in. If you manage a team or oversee a business, encourage your personnel to stay home when they’re feeling under the weather. Most strains are highly contagious, and can even be contracted when you breathe in a flu aerosol particle from ten feet away!

Wash Hands Regularly

There are certain environments – such as your home and personal work space – which you can control and keep clean. In public environments, however, you’re bound to come into contact with flu viruses at one point or another. To limit your exposure, wash your hands often, and always before eating or touching your face. When you’ve come into contact with frequently-used public objects, like cafeteria trays, ATMs, and door handles, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Limit the Spread of Infection

Fight viruses with the Curad Anti-Viral Face Mask

Most doctor’s offices now provide face masks in the patient waiting area, which should be donned by potentially infected visitors. If you own or manage a healthcare facility, keep an ample supply of anti-viral face masks on hand for the flu season. Nurses and doctors may also wish to put on face masks before treating potentially infected patients to reduce their risks of contracting the illness. Also, keep in mind the virus can be spread up to seven days before a person exhibits symptoms. Thus, it’s a good idea to avoid sharing straws, makeup products, and similar objects with others.

Keep Your Spaces Clean

Wipe away germs with CleanTex Phone Wipes

According to a Clorox survey, 41% of workers say they rarely – if ever – disinfect their desks. Your cubicle and similar personal spaces can harbor countless germs, so taking extra precautions to keep them clean during flu season is essential to your wellness. From your cubicle to your household, wipe down surface areas often to keep germs at bay. Keep office environments well-stocked with cleaning supplies which can be used safely on electronics like touch-screen computers and keyboards. Use CleanTex Phone Wipes for desk equipment and phones and use CleanTex Clean and Safe wipes or Purell Sanitizing Hand Wipes for your hands.

Cover Your Cough

If you do get the flu or feel like it could be coming on, be sure to cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Afterwards, clean your hands to prevent passing your germs onto any surface areas. The flu virus isn’t just spread by airborne respiratory droplets; it can also be passed by skin-to-skin contact and by touching a contaminated surface. Leave a germ-free surface by cleaning with disinfectant wipes.

Practice Healthy Habits

Eating a nutrient-rich diet is a great way to boost your body’s immunity, but many individuals still fall short in certain vitamins and minerals. Talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin to stay as healthy as possible, and be sure to get plenty of sleep. If you do contract the flu, stay hydrated and seek medical attention if any symptoms become extreme.

Keep your office environment clean this flu season by stocking up on disinfecting wipes, sanitizers, anti-viral face masks and more through Harmony Business Supplies. We have everything you need to stop germs in their tracks. Visit our online storefront for a full list of products, or get in touch with a product specialist for assistance.

 

How to wear Face Masks

How to Breathe Properly with a Face Mask

Breathe Safely with Face Masks

In many work environments, face masks are critical for keeping employees safe against breathing in toxins, contaminants, or other harmful particles in the air. While wearing one is second-nature for many associates, if you’re new to the practice, it can feel unfamiliar at first.

Ensuring a proper fit isn’t just essential to your comfort; it’s also critical to keeping you and your fellow employees safe and healthy. Here, we go over the basics of wearing a face mask properly to ensure safe breathing.

1. Prep

One aspect of wearing a face mask properly begins before you even put it on. In order to prevent germ transfer in a cleanroom setting, you must first clean your hands using antibacterial soap to keep the mask sterile/clean. If there’s no hand soap within reach, use alcohol disinfectant instead.

2. Place It

face mask placement

Before bringing the mask up to your face, make sure you’re holding it so that it’s facing the right direction. The top portion of the mask should have a bendable edge, which you’ll fit against your nose for a secure seal. Additionally, either side of the mask should have ear loops, which, as their names suggest, you’ll placed behind each ear. The loops on ear masks are elastic and thus designed to stretch for a comfortable fit with all face shapes. There are also tie style face masks instead of elastic ear loop face masks.

Some face masks also have eye shields to protect your eyes from coming into contact with hazardous fluids or objects. The shield components of these masks should fully cover your eye area. These protective shield face masks also feature fog-resistant panes to ensure clear vision while you’re working.

Once you’ve secured the ear loops or ties, you may also wish to adjust the top edge so that it sits more comfortably and securely against your nose and face. Make sure both your nose and mouth are fully covered by the mask.

3. Double Check

After the mask is secure, check the sides of it for any escaped air. While most designs with ear loops prevent air from escaping, you may have to press the sides against your face with some types of masks for a snug fit.

4. Breathe THIS Way

inhale through your nose exhale through your mouth

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can breathe with ease with your mask firmly secure. Yet, it’s important to be mindful of your breath while you have your mask on, as there’s a certain way of breathing used by professionals who wear masks in clean environments. To ensure safe and comfortable breathing, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Your nose traps any contaminants in your cilia (the tiny hairs within your nostrils) to prevent them from entering your body. The mouth is better for exhaling, as it helps you release all of your air more efficiently.

5. Remove with Care

Once you’re done wearing the mask, be careful to touch only the ear loops or ties as you remove it. Dispose of it in the designated receptacle and wash your hands again.
There are many styles of disposable face masks available for different applications.. To find the right option to suit your business’s needs, browse through our selection online.