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The Division of Occupational Safety and Health has cited a manufacturer of cannabis products $50,470 in proposed penalties for 10 violations, including serious safety violations following an explosion that seriously injured a worker, Cal/OSHA announced Thursday.
On June 19, an employee of Santa Cruz, California-based Future2 Labs Health Services Inc. was working alone inside a 128-square-foot portable storage container in Watsonville, using propane to extract oil from cannabis leaves. The propane ignited and exploded, badly burning the worker. He was hospitalized for several days, according to a statement.
Cal/OSHA reported that it learned upon investigation the employer did not test the atmosphere inside the storage container for flammable gases or vapors before allowing equipment to be operated. The equipment created a spark that ignited the propane gas where the employee was working.
The citations include three regulatory, four general and three serious accident-related violations for failing to protect workers around flammable vapors, failing to identify hazards and provide personal protective equipment, and failing to maintain equipment in a safe operating condition, according to the statement.
“The process of using a highly flammable gas to extract oil from cannabis leaves is dangerous,” Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in the 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.”
Officials with Future2 could not immediately be reached for comment.
Cannasure Insurance Services plans to launch a comprehensive coverage program for the cannabis industry, the MGA and wholesale broker said in a statement Tuesday.