Personal protective equipment (PPE) is important for safely handling cannabis, especially if you work on a farm, in an extraction facility, kitchen setting, or dispensary. Below, we’ve outlined some of the key PPE considerations for the cannabis industry to keep people safe as they handle the medicinal herb.
Medicine or Food?
The question of whether to handle cannabis as a medicine or food is a recent debate sparked by the legalization and commercial use of the product. The answer to this question may vary depending upon your location and even the specific product you are working with. Regardless of how you categorize it, it’s important to understand that cannabis products have different safety requirements based on their classification.
Get Some Gloves
Gloves are an essential piece of PPE for any cannabis industry worker. Because there are so many different types of gloves available, it can be confusing to know which glove will work best for your needs. You’ll use them for handling plants, trimming, manicuring, harvesting and packaging. Hi-vis gloves are critical to keeping your hands clean and protected from abrasions or cuts. The same gloves also protect plants from contamination by preventing workers’ skin oils, hair dyes, perfumes, and other materials from getting on them—potentially damaging plant growth over time.
Safety glasses or goggles are among the most important pieces of PPE for any cannabis industry worker. This piece of equipment is your eyes’ first line of defense against flying objects and harmful chemicals that could damage your sight.
Protective eyewear should be worn when handling chemicals or other hazardous materials. Hands-on workers also need eyewear to protect themselves from debris they may come into contact with while working with plants, especially in an environment such as an indoor grow facility.
Respirators and Masks
OSHA requires respirator PPE for workers who are at risk of breathing contaminants in the air to protect against respiratory illness or injury. The concentration of the hazard in your workplace determines the type of respirator you need.
Wearing proper safety gear will help your employees feel safer while working, and they’ll be more productive on the job. Employers can attract more skilled candidates if their company cares about employee well-being. The use of the correct safety gear, such as wearing a respirator mask, will protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dust, fog, smoke, mist, gases, and vapors.
The Right Stuff
We hope we’ve inspired you to consider your personal protective equipment needs in the cannabis industry. Each of these items has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider what is most appropriate for your situation before making any purchases.