Santa Cruz, CA-based Future2 Health is facing hefty OSHA fines of over $50,000 after a propane explosion caused serious injuries to an employee in June 2018. The worker was using propane to extract THC oil from cannabis flower inside of a small storage container. The explosion resulted in injuries to the employee which resulted in a prolonged hospital stay.
Investigation revealed the environment was not C1D1 compliant. The amount of propane which accumulated inside of the environment apparently superseded the Lower Explosive Limits threshold (LEL). A typical LEL threshold should be 10-20%. At 100%, the ambient air does become flammable. During the extraction operation back in June the equipment inside the environment caused a spark which quickly ignited the gas and seriously burned the employee.
“The process of using a highly flammable gas to extract oil from cannabis is dangerous,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum in a statement.“To prevent injuries and mitigate risk, employers in the cannabis industry must establish and implement an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program, provide effective training to their employees and comply with safety and health standards.”
Manufacturing concentrates is serious business. Employers must take adequate safety measures to ensure they are protecting the safety of their employees. Without identifying potential hazards, providing protective equipment, maintaining safe working environments and inadequate training - they are putting themselves (and potentially the industry as a whole) at risk.
When building or expanding your operations, new and existing manufacturers should always consider starting with the safest environment possible. Companies like FlexMOD Solutions have set the industry standard in extraction safety and offer a wide variety of fully-compliant environments. These environments mitigate the risk of such explosions occurring. Given the risk and expense of taking chances on a subpar working environment, businesses should consider playing it safe.