The rules and regulations are stringent for extraction operations, and for good reason. Consumer and worker safety depends on safely-run, code-compliant setups that are continually in the process of evaluation and adjustment.
The Dangers of Non-Compliance
Extraction procedures are complex processes that utilize flammable and noxious substances. Although some methods of extraction are safer than others, the lion’s share of processes present dangers that must be respected and controlled.
Fire and Explosion
Highly combustible gases and substances are necessary for a variety of methods of extraction. Butane and ethanol are commonly used and both are highly flammable. However, gas is not the only fire danger. Improperly powered systems that violate the electrical code may also lead to fires and explosions.
Pollutants, Vapors, and Solvents
The air that workers breathe can become polluted with harmful vapors and even cannabis dust. Long-term illnesses can result from breathing in these substances, however, the real danger is the possibility of an employee losing consciousness after inhaling something noxious. This can happen easily if you’re using C02 in your extraction procedure. You can also run into problems with solvents that are not properly handled or stored. Butane and ethanol can lead to explosions as well as contact burns and poisoning.
If you’re in business and are not running your operation up to code then the authorities can shut you down. Various levels of inspections — from city code inspections to cannabis compliance audits — will be carried out. So if your company fails to address safety concerns — whether they seem silly or not — this negligence can result in a temporary or permanent closure of your operation.
The surest way to ensure compliance in your facility is to have a person on site totally dedicated to compliance management. If this is not feasible, then appoint a responsible employee to the role. Their job will be to ensure that good manufacturing practices (GMP) are being followed every step of the way.
Additionally, the person in charge of compliance management should make sure that all aspects of the non-cannabis-related parts of the business are in compliance. This includes everything from the building and rooms being used for extraction to the wiring, exits, facility lighting, and safety equipment.
Once your facility and operation are in compliance, the work is just beginning. Your compliance manager and employees need to make sure that all facets of the operation remain in compliance. This requires constant evaluation, sometimes criticism, and likely several employee meetings.
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