Can OSHA inspect cannabis facilities? Some cannabis cultivators and manufacturers believe they are exempt from OSHA visits because the Federal government does not recognize cannabis as a legal drug. According to a recent case in California, the government disagrees.
On June 19, 2018, a worker in a California cannabis manufacturing facility was using propane to extract oil from cannabis flowers. The propane ignited and exploded, leaving the employee with serious injuries. The incident was followed by an investigation by California OSHA. According to a California Department of Industrial Relations press release, the Cal/OSHA investigation revealed the employer did not test the atmosphere inside the work area for flammable gases or vapors before allowing equipment to be operation.
Cal/OSHA wrote the company up for 10 violations, including failure to identify hazards and provide PPE, failure to maintain equipment in a safe operating condition, failure to protect workers around flammable vapors, failure to train employees, and failure to establish an emergency action plan and a hazard communication plan. The proposed penalty amount for the 10 alleged violations is $50,470.
Is your facility OSHA compliant? OSHA has jurisdiction to inspect your facility and will conduct an inspection/investigation if there is an accident or an employee complaint. Contact your Husch Blackwell counsel, Donna Pryor, or one of our other safety and health attorneys for more information on safety compliance or how to handle an OSHA inspection/investigation.