Article by Erika LaBlonde, High! Canada
Those of us who are working within the cannabis industry can feel so fortunate to be here that we can sometimes forget to pay attention to health and safety procedures in the cannabis industry compared to the general workplace. I find excitement or inexperience when working with new cannabis extraction technologies or equipment can often cause us to forget simple rules to follow according to regular workplace WHIMIS training.
There are many cannabis workplace standards and equipment that varies from growing to extraction, so if you are new the industry be prepared to learn safety produces with machinery or handling corrosive chemicals or solvents.
The number one rule to remember with any career in the cannabis workplace is to pay attention to your preparation to any task, the ventilation of your work area and the temperature of the chemicals you are working with.
If you find yourself taking care of cannabis plants, you will get to know phosphoric acid. This acid is used in combination of growing nutrients and it can burn your skin if you come into contact with this chemical commonly known as PH down. Simply wearing gloves can avoid burns when pouring PH down into hydroponic systems or water mixtures.
Be aware when working with heating up solvents to extract cannabis oils because burns can often occur by vapor versus physical contact with boiling chemicals.
Don’t learn the hard way and make sure your eyes are protected from chemical vapors when working with any open cannabis oil extraction system indoors or outdoors. It can take 30 min or a few hours after your eyes are exposed to harmful vapors from boiling solvents to feel burnt and sting as well as impair your vision.
I have run into trouble in the cannabis workplace when eyewash equipment was nowhere close to me a few hours after my eyes were exposed to boiling solvent vapors and I was not prepared for the intense pain that followed.
I highly recommend having a chemical eyewash safety station or kit close by to any area cannabis extractions with solvents are performed or buy a chemical eye wash kit for home.