Common OSHA Citations in the Cannabis Industry: Employee (PPE)

Common OSHA Citations in the Cannabis Industry: Employee Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Are you a cannabis cultivator, processor, or involved in another part of the legal cannabis industry? Even though the Federal government does not recognize the legality of cannabis, OSHA still has jurisdiction to check cannabis work sites (agricultural, processing, and retail) and cite companies for workplace violations. Is your cannabis business prepared for a visit from OSHA? 

Since California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996 (Proposition 215), cannabis industry-related businesses have lost millions of dollars due to OSHA violations. Some of the most common violations relate to:  

  • Workplace Hazard Communication Plans
  • Employee Hazard Material Training  
  • Employee Personal Protection Equipment 
  • Workplace Fire Prevention Plans  
  • OSHA Form 300 & 301  

OSHA violations can result in fines, including criminal fines, disruption of business, and revenue and time loss.  By having a safe work environment, you can avoid these violations and other risks that could negatively impact your business. RHP Risk can help you provide a safe work environment that is compliant with OSHA standards. We can help you and your employees to foster a work environment that is safe, productive, and at less risk for an OSHA violation or workplace injuries.

According to OSHA, employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Minor injuries required first-aid only do not need to be recorded. A business must use Form 300A to report a business’s total number of fatalities, missed workdays, job transfers or restrictions, and injuries and illnesses. It also requires the number of employees and the hours worked for the year. If there were no recordable injuries or illnesses, a company must still post the form, with zeroes on the appropriate lines.

RHP Risk helps our clients access risk in the workplace, especially risk as related to OSHA standards, and mitigate that risk and increase safety. We can help you be prepared for a visit from OSHA and help avoid them altogether by helping you create a safe work environment and protect your workers’ health and safety. Read more about common Cannabis OSHA Citations below.

Cannabis Personal Protection Equipment

Some of the most common citations relate to Employee Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

Cannabis cultivation and processing businesses should first perform a hazard assessment to identify potential hazards for their employees. Cannabis cultivation and processing employers need to train employees of the proper use of PPE that will protect them from on-the-job hazards, including chemical burns, loud noises, biological hazards, equipment hazards, and exposure to UV light.

Protective clothing should be designed to protect against potential workplace hazard, shielding against particulates and chemicals. Prior to being issued, employers need to fit test an employee’s respiratory protection and know what chemicals and concentrations their employees are being exposed to.

If a process or work practice changes, the employer should re-evaluate PPE needs to determine if the existing PPE program remains suitable and protective for the employees. Failure to have a compliant PPE plan in place can result in an OSHA violation that is avoidable. RHP Risk Management can help your business develop a health and safety plan, including employee PPE protection.


Workplace Hazard Communication Plans

Does your cannabis business have a hazard communication plan in place? Are the pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals in your workplace properly identified, labelled and stored? Are your Safety Data Sheets displayed and managed?  Do you have a training program set up for your employees so they understand the hazardous materials in their workplace and handle them safely?

Failure to have a compliant hazard communication plan in place can result in an OSHA violation that is avoidable.  RHP Risk Management can help your business develop a hazard communication plan, evaluate and audit your plan, and assist in training your employees so that your business is OSHA compliant when it comes to hazard communication.


Workplace Fire Prevention Plans

A fire prevention plan should address any major hazards within the facility, accumulation of waste material, maintenance of heat-producing equipment and the names and titles of employees responsible for various parts of the prevention plan.

The use of propane and other flammable chemicals during the manufacturing of cannabis-infused products make a fire prevention plan essential. Extraction of hash oil from cannabis requires pouring flammable butane or other explosive solvents into a cannabis-filled pipe. The butane strips tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, then drips down in liquid form and is collected for consumption into cannabis edibles. Propane is highly flammable when it is mixed with the right amount of oxygen.

An often-forgotten danger is the improper storage of the chemicals – which could result in an explosion.


Employee Hazard Material Training

Has your cannabis business conducted Hazardous Materials training? Are you a cultivator who uses pesticides or fungicides or an extraction technician using chemicals such as butane? Have your employees received training on storage, handling and dispensing these materials? Do you have systems in place to store these materials and plans should an accident occur involving hazardous materials?

RHP Risk can help you develop training programs, accident prevention guidelines, and a plan of action in the event of an accident.


Learn More About Our Health and Safety Services for Cannabis Facilities

RHP Risk Management works with clients providing facility audits, monitoring services and training for employees. We will assist you and your employees to create a work environment that reduces the risks of workplace injuries and fines from OSHA. Contact us or call (773) 867-6010.