Hazards in Cannabis Extraction and Processing Facilities

With the increase of states legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal use, worker safety concerns are on the rise within the cannabis extraction, processing and manufacturing industry. 

Hazards in Cannabis Extraction and Processing Facilities - Otis Instruments

Many of these concerns are in regard to gas hazards, which may exist during cannabis processes and within the facilities in which they occur. Solvent extraction is used to remove the essential oils from plant matter, which is then distilled to separate it into the desired compounds and remove the solvent. Common process solvents include butane, carbon dioxide, ethanol, and various toxic and flammable liquids. 

Flammable solvents require storage, pipes, valves and controls for proper process operation and safety. Carbon dioxide is another common hazards within these sites from cylinders or gas burning generators. If this gas is generated using fossil fuel combustion, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide can be produced, creating a risk for significant health effects or death for exposed personnel. 

In addition, current cultivation methods of cannabis and industrial hemp utilize carbon dioxide enrichment to increase plant growth and development. Carbon dioxide can reduce or displace oxygen concentrations in the air. 

To ensure worker safety, building and safety regulations specify the use of gas detection to be installed in specified areas based on gases to be monitored and the area hazard classification. Gas detectors are often placed in front of exhaust ventilation grills and on processing equipment near potential leak points. 

Otis Instruments’ equipment will sense gas, provide visual and audible alarms, and can control appliances to mitigate the gas prior to reaching hazardous levels within the cannabis industry. 

The Cube, from Otis Instruments, is an ambient air toxic gas detector that uses an electrochemical, infrared or PID sensor element to detect a variety of gases. The colored (GREEN) status indicator LED notifies users from a distance, with multiple flashing patterns to indicate alarms. 

To learn more about The Cube for cannabis extraction and processing facilities, contact Otis Instruments today.