Cannabis Manufacturer Cited After Explosion Left Worker Badly Burned

Fremont—Cal/OSHA has cited a manufacturer of cannabis products for multiple serious safety violations following an explosion that seriously injured a worker.

On June 19, an employee of Future2 Labs Health Services 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.

During the investigation, Cal/OSHA learned 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 process of using a highly flammable gas to extract oil from cannabis leaves is dangerous,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “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.”

Cal/OSHA cited Santa Cruz-based Future2 Health Services $50,470 in proposed penalties for 10 violations. The citations include three regulatory, four general and three serious accident-related violations. The serious accident-related violations were cited for the employer’s failure to:

  • Protect workers around flammable vapors
  • Identify hazards and provide personal protective equipment
  • Maintain equipment in a safe operating condition.

The other citations were issued for violations related to inadequate training, failing to establish an emergency action plan and a hazard communication program. Future2 Labs Health Services also failed to report a serious workplace injury to Cal/OSHA.

Cal/OSHA’s Cannabis Industry Health and Safety webpage provides information to employers and workers. Workers in the cannabis industry, including those in cultivation, distribution, retail, testing and manufacturing, are exposed to hazards covered under existing Cal/OSHA regulations.

A violation is classified as serious when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazard created by the violation. Violations are classified as accident-related when the injury, illness or fatality is caused by the violation.

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