Cal/OSHA Cites Cannabis Company for Safety Violations Following Explosion that Burned Employee

Cal/OSHA Cites Cannabis Company for Safety Violations Following Explosion that Burned Employee


FREMONT, California, Dec. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — 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 helpful 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.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734). The California Workers’ Information line at 866-924-9757 provides recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics. Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.

Members of the press may contact Peter Melton or Lucas Brown at (510) 286-1161, and are encouraged to subscribe to get email alerts on DIR’s press releases or other departmental updates.

The California Department of Industrial Relations, established in 1927, protects and improves the health, safety, and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. DIR is housed within the Labor & Workforce Development Agency. For general inquiries, contact DIR’s Call Center at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734) for help in locating the appropriate division or program in our department.

SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations; Cal/OSHA

Cal/OSHA Cites Cannabis Company for Safety Violations Following Explosion that Burned Employee