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.

Safety Glasses VS Safety Goggles

Comparing Eye Protection

Workplace accidents causing eye injuries are common. Therefore, it is important to invest in eye protection safety when working in hazardous environments. In general, damage and injuries occur due to the open exposure of the eyes to adverse conditions.

As long as the eyes are sufficiently covered using safety glasses or goggles, the eyes will be shielded from danger.

If you are uncertain about the right protection for your workplace, you should consider this short discussion on eye safety.

Understand the Potential Hazards

eye protection

When choosing your protective eye gear, it is important to understand your work environment and the potential hazards.

The dangers will depend on the type of operations that are carried out in your residential, commercial or industrial premises.

The most common forms of hazards are solid objects and particles. Solid projectiles can cause irreversible harm to the eye tissues, and the damage could escalate into infections and even vision loss.

The common projectiles that could be dangerous include concrete, metal, wood and tools. You should also note that particles of dust or similar contaminants will injure the eyes by abrading the cornea.

Chemicals will have a dangerous effect on your eyes, and continuous exposure will lead to long-term degradation of the tissues. You will need to guard against splashes of liquid compounds and fumes from vaporized chemicals.

Radiation is a hazard which is often ignored in the workplace because its immediate impact is not as prominent as chemicals or solid projectiles. Unfortunately, radiation in the form infrared radiation, ultraviolet light and visible light will increase the risk of vision loss over time.

If you work in a laboratory or hospital, you will need to guard against infections pathogens. Disease-causing microorganisms can infiltrate eyes through blood and other body fluids.

Prevent Eye Damage

Your eye protection safety plan for your workplace should begin by evaluating the worksite and understanding the specific hazards. Then, you should eliminate dangers which can be avoided before starting work.

For instance, you can limit the risks posed by projectiles in industrial spaces by using screen protection, machine guarding and engineering controls.

Finally, you must choose the right eye gear for personal protection.

Choosing Your Protection

There are two primary types of protective eyewear for workplace applications: safety glasses and safety goggles.

Both of these are beneficial for shielding, but they are not both suitable for all applications. It is important to make a comparison before choosing the best item for your needs.

Safety Glasses

https://www.harmonycr.com/Guardian-Safety-Glasses-p/lb1710.htm
iNOX Guardian Safety Glasses

For most workplaces, safety glasses will suffice for worker eye protection. In general, this type of gear is designed to provide impact protection from solid projectiles.

If you need to keep your eyes safe from flying objects and debris when working, you should opt for eye glasses.

Typically, the lenses and the frames are tested to withstand tough objects like steel balls. Therefore, you do not need to be concerned about eye injuries.

It is also important to note that safety glasses are comfortable for long-term wear.

Safety Goggles

Safety goggles provide superior, all-round protection against workplace hazards. In addition to solid projectiles, this type of eyewear will keep the eyes safe from small particles, liquids and fumes.

Unlike safety glasses, goggles do not have gaps around the bottom, top and sides. Instead, the eyewear will form a tight seal around eye area of the face.

Safety goggles are ideal if you are concerned about chemical exposure, infectious pathogens, metal filings and dust.

There are different types of safety goggles on the market: direct vent, indirect vent and unvented goggles.

You must choose the right protective product to guarantee optimal protection in your workplace.

Direct Vent Goggles:

Direct Vent Safety Goggles
Direct Vent Safety Goggles

The protective eyewear is designed with multiple perforations to allow for ventilation. The holes prevent fogging of the goggles.

Unfortunately, the design limits the protection provided against small particles, liquids and vapor.

Indirect Vent Goggles:

Indirect Vent Safety Goggles
Indirect Vent Safety Goggles

Like the direct vent eyewear, these have perforations. However, the venting holes are covered, limiting the flow of liquids and particles.

The ventilation will provide vapor protection, but the effectiveness will be limited.

However, the eyewear will be susceptible to fogging. Choose anti-fog lens to minimize the rate of clouding.

A Complete Guide to Safety Glasses

A Complete Guide to Safety Glasses

Safety Glasses Eye Protection Guide

The eyes are among the most vulnerable parts of the body, so selecting the right form of protection to keep them safe in certain work conditions is of critical importance. Here, we’ll provide an overview of everything you need to know when seeking out this essential form of protection.

Know Your Hazards

Before you can select the right type of eyewear for your needs, you should start by identifying the hazards in your workplace. Your environment could include any of the following risks, as well as combination of them:

  • Chemical: Any line of work exposing individuals to harmful liquids or substances or acids pose chemical risks. These risks include splashes, droplets, spraying, and even causing irritation through mist.

    3M Safety Splash Goggles 334, Clear Lens
    3M Safety Splash Goggles
  • Impact: Occupations like masonry work and carpentry are notorious for their impact risks to the eyes. Sanding, chipping, grinding, and machining are likewise dangerous. Flying particles and fragments can cause serious damage to eyes.

    Crews Checklite Safety Glasses, Clear Lens
    Crews Checklite Impact Safety Glasses
  • Heat: Welding is one common line of work which exposes operators to heat-related damage. Hot sparks and splashes from high-temperature materials can cause devastating burns, not just to the eye itself but also the surrounding skin.
  • Dust: If your line of work involves woodworking or buffing of any sort, it’s important to keep your eyes protected against fine dust. Even seemingly harmless particles can cause eye irritation. At worst, they might even cause microscopic scrapes on the eye.
  • Optical Radiation: Any job where UV or IR light or laser arcs are produced warrants the need for eye protection. These types of activities could include torch brazing and welding.

Exposure one of these hazards can cause serious damage to the eyes, and could even cause complete or partial loss of vision.

Understand ANSI Devices

ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, sets forth standards for eye and face protection by evaluating hazards and recommending specific types of eye protection to be worn for each. ANSI guidelines identify the following types of eye and face protection:

  • Face Shield: Face shields are designed to either fully or partially protect the wearer’s face. Oftentimes, they consist of a helmet or similar type of headgear and a detachable mask or shield.
  • Full-Face Piece Respirator: Designed to also support the wearer’s ability to avoid inhaling toxins, the full-face piece respirator covers the surface of the entire face, including the nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Safety Goggles: A general term for safety glasses, this form of protection surrounds the wearer’s eyes to shield them against some or all of the hazards described above. Note the difference between safety glasses, which feature arms that sit on the ears, and goggles, which feature a strap to create a tighter seal against the wearer’s face for a higher level of protection.
  • Welding Face Shield, Goggle, or Helmet: Some types of eye and face wear are designed specifically to protect against the weld spatter and optical radiation produced by welding.

After determining which type of device is best suited for your application based on ANSI guidelines, you can move on and assess which lens will offer the right form of protection.

Learn About Lenses

When it comes to finding the best type of eyewear for your work conditions, one of the most important factors to consider is lens type. Let’s take a look at some options.

Coatings

Lens coatings can play an important role in enhancing the wearer’s visibility. Some are also designed to prolong the lifespan of the goggles or glasses. Here are some common types of coatings:

  • Scratch-resistant: As its name suggests, an anti-scratch lens/coating on safety glasses can extend the lifespan of the eyewear by protecting the lenses against scratches.

    Jackson Safety V40 HellRaiser Safety Glasses, Smoke Lens, Black Frame
    Jackson Safety V40 HellRaiser Scratch Resistant Safety Glasses
  • Anti-static: In sensitive environments where static could compromise components the wearer works with, anti-static coating helps to reduce dust and can even limit particulate attraction.
  • Anti-UV: For workers exposed to UV radiation, anti-UV coated eyewear is a must. These lenses can absorb upwards of 99.9% of radiation, thus protecting the wearer against long-term retinal damage.

    iNOX F-I UV Safety Glasses
    iNOX F-I UV Safety Glasses
  • Anti-fog: If your workplace is located in a humid environment, anti-fog coatings can help you see clearly by deterring moisture buildup on lenses.

    3M Virtual Protective Eyewear V4, Clear Anti-Fog Lens
    3M Anti-Fog Lens Safety Glasses
  • Hard: Hard coatings can be bonded to most types of lenses to prolong their lifespan.

Tints

Different lens colors are designed to support specific types of tasks. To help you decide which option is right for your needs, simply refer to the color wheel. Lens colors will absorb light of opposite shades. For example, blue will absorb yellow light, since they are on opposite sides of the wheel.

  • Amber: This tint blocks blue light and is best-suited for applications where there’s low light.

    iNOX F-II Wrap-Around Amber Lens Glasses
    iNOX F-II Amber Lens Safety Glasses
  • Brown: Glares produced by outdoor light are blocked effectively with brown lenses.
  • Clear: If there’s no danger of optical radiation, clear lenses may be a good fit for the task, as they offer a completely unfiltered view of the wearer’s surroundings.

    Crews Checklite Safety Glasses
    Crews Checklite Clear Safety Glasses
  • Gold, Blue, or Mirrored: Like brown lenses, these tints are ideal for outdoor wear because they block sunlight. Mirrored lenses take it a step further by reflecting light.

    iNOX F-1 Wrap-Around Blue Mirror Lens
    iNOX F-I Blue Mirror Lens Safety Glasses
  • Gray: Gray lenses prevent against eye fatigue in outdoor settings by keeping glare at bay.
  • Indoor/Outdoor: This tint is similar to gray, except for the fact that it can also be useful indoors since it protects against glare from artificial light sources.

    Jackson Safety V30 Nemesis Indoor/Outdoor Lens Safety Glasses
    Jackson Safety V30 Nemesis Indoor/Outdoor Lens Safety Glasses
  • Vermilion: Often used for interior inspections, this tint can improve contrast.

Filter Shades

A final consideration for glasses is the shade of the filter. The darkness spectrum ranges from 1.5, which is the lightest, to 14, the darkest. While darker lenses are needed for duties like electric arc welding, lighter shades can be used for activities with less risk of optical radiance, like torch soldering. Of course, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and select the darkest available lens that won’t inhibit job performance.

As you can see, the world of safety glasses can be overwhelming. With so many different factors to consider, finding the right pair isn’t always a quick and easy task. If you’re seeking safety glasses for your own protection or for your workplace, look no further than Harmony. We have an extensive collection of eye protection available on our website, and if you need assistance deciding which pair is right for you, one of their product specialists will be glad to help.

Eye Protection for Infection & Hazards

Protecting Your Eyes

eye protection

Isn’t it great to be at your best in everything you do? Whether its work or leisure, it pays to have good eyesight. There’s nothing like hours of diligent hard work at the machine shop with a project that’s waiting for promising pay. Having good vision lessens the risk of injuries and unwanted accidents.

No doubt that you and I want to have the same great moments at work or play, but unfortunately there are some things that can get in our way, particularly with our vision.

Eye injuries in the work place are very common. Thousands of U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries every day! Choosing the right eye protection minimizes potential exposure to hazards and infectious diseases via ocular exposure.

Imagine not being able to meet a project’s deadline because a smokey and dusty environment is making it seeing difficult seeing your work on a machine. Or, handling corrosive chemicals in the lab and you have no eye protection on? Can you even imagine medical professionals not using eye protection? Definitively not!

Reasons for Eye Injury

Dust, small particles, smoke, harmful chemicals and ocular diseases can all impact our vision. Chemicals and flying shards are just some of the hazards facing many modern workplaces. Healthcare workers, lab workers and janitorial staff are all prone to infectious diseases from eye exposure.

The 2 major reasons eye injuries/infection happen on the job are:

  1. No eye protection was being worn
  2. The wrong kind of eye protection was worn for the job

Some occupations that have a high risk of eye injuries/infection include:

  • Construction
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical work
  • Maintenance
  • Lab work
  • Health/Dental care
  • Welding

Good eye protection provides a barrier to infectious or dangerous materials getting in your eyes.

Proper eye protection can actually help enhance your performance, improve your eyesight given the right kind of lens, and prevent exposure to harmful particles and harsh chemicals that might permanently harm your eyesight.

All you need to do is to pick the right the right kind of eye protection for your activity.

Picking Proper Protection

Safety Goggles

safety goggles

If you’re in an environment where chemicals are being used, there is a risk of it splashes getting into your eyes. Choose the safety goggles with an appropriate and comfy fit. Also, chooses ones that that reduce fogging also known as anti-fog safety goggles.

Full-Face Shield Eye Protection

full face shield

If you’re in a machine shop, you need a full-face shields, particularly when you are welding. This will keep your entire face from getting exposed to welding heat, sparks and smoke. You can use face shields as well on pretty much any kind of work akin to that of welding or any that keeps your entire face exposed to harmful materials.

In a medical or dental environment, using a full-face shield offers the most protection. Full-face shields cover more of the face and offer more protection from liquids in medical and dental applications.

Safety Glasses

safety glasses

For anything else less risky at the workplace , you can simply opt for safety glasses to protect your eyes from dust and flying fragments and even give your eyes protection from direct UV exposure. Safety glasses are ideal for impact protection but less so for splash or chemical protection.

Use the right eye protection in unison with other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as disposable gloves, isolation gowns, face masks and other items. Remember to opt for the right kind of eye protection either at work or play. You only get one set of eyes and you want to do your best to protect them.

Still not sure what you need?

Call our Harmony Supply Specialists (800 899-1255) to get just the right protection for your needs.