An employee at a California marijuana plant suffered serious burns, bringing to light a new type of industrial plant injury. The incident occurred in June of this year when an employee was working alone inside of a 128-square-foot portable storage container. He was using propane while working to extract oil from cannabis leaves, and the flammable substance ignited, causing an explosion in the enclosed environment that led to him suffering serious burns.
Industrial plant injuries are frequently a result of unsafe work environments, and occupational safety experts are concerned that the rapid introduction of marijuana producers into the economy has left a gap in adherence to worker safety and health standards. The introduction of the once-illegal trade into legal operations may mean that employers are not fully up to speed on the requirements put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Industrial Plant Injury Leaves Marijuana Worker Hospitalized for Days
As marijuana processing enters the general economy, employers who once worked in the shadows are now finding themselves subject to the same rules that others must follow in order to prevent industrial plant injuries. In the case of the California worker, an investigation by the state’s OSHA office found that the employer had failed to conduct testing inside of the container for the presence of flammable gas or vapors.
Those tests are required before equipment can be operated specifically out of fears of a spark igniting those gasses. That is exactly what happened, and the worker’s injuries were severe enough that he required several days of hospitalization. The company has been charged by California OSHA with 10 violations, fined approximately $50,000, and faces the possibility of civil litigation filed by the injured worker over its failure to supply personal protective equipment, maintain a safe working environment, and more.