Safety precautions for working with a volume of extraction solvents may sound similar to chemistry class, and that’s because it’s actually a very scientific process just as one might study in school.

Education of Workers

Most accidents in the industry are generally not caused by some sort of technical failure but rather by a person making a mistake, whether out of error or ignorance. The imperative first step is to ensure that every person working for your facility is educated on proper and required safety protocols. A written safety plan is an easy way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Safety Tips

>More than just guidelines, these safety essentials should be planned and in place before any extraction takes place, and routinely checked to ensure continued adherence.

1. Ventilation
It makes sense when working with volatile gases that you need to make sure there’s a safe place for people to work. Having a dedicated ventilation system is the first step to ensuring that workers are not exposed to vapors or dust generated by the extraction process. Always follow OSHA guidelines for providing a working environment within occupational limits for exposure.

Fire safety is also a concern that requires a functioning ventilation system. Fire requires oxygen, an ignition source, and a fuel source; a vented hood will remove vapors and reduce potential fuel sources in the facility.

2. Hearing Protection

Large machinery is loud and working continuously around it can expose workers to noise levels above acceptable standards. Provide hearing protection for anyone working around machinery to prevent temporary or permanent hearing loss. Noise-canceling devices include earplugs, earmuffs, and bands.

Choose a product that is certified, comfortable, and something that workers will easily and naturally reach for.
Engineering controls can also be put in place to reduce the noise levels to which workers are exposed. Maintenance and lubrication of machinery parts, installing sound walls where possible, and choosing low-noise equipment when upgrading are all examples of measures that can help with noise reduction.

 3. Monitor levels of CO2

One invisible concern in cannabis extraction is a growing concentration of carbon dioxide. While naturally occurring in the air in general, high concentrations can be dangerous. In addition to proper ventilation, the areas should be monitored for CO2 with OSHA-approved monitors. A warning alarm will sound well before dangerous limits are reached, allowing workers time to follow safety protocols and get to safety.
The best first step, of course, is always prevention. All emergency relief valves should pipe outside the building away from people and animals. Ensure that proper ventilation is installed and functioning. Educate all personnel on things to check and proper response protocol in the event of a leak.

4. Physical worker protection
It’s easy to provide the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers to use and stay safe. Different facilities and different machinery may have a variety of hazards, to ensure that safety protocols are researched and set up according to industry and OSHA standards.

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