For years, cannabis grow room conditions and safety haven’t received significant attention. Discussions around legalization typically stole the spotlight. But now, so many states have legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis usage that more focus is being placed on grow rooms as a legitimate (and potentially hazardous) workplace.
Here, we look at some of a cultivation site’s biggest hazards and how you can mitigate them to maintain a healthy, happy, and productive grow operation.
Top Grow Room Dangers
Growing cannabis involves many repetitive, labor-intensive tasks. Trimming, for example, involves hours of carefully removing the leaves and stems, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and other chronic health issues over time. In addition to possible long-term injury, growers face immediate risk as they handle large, heavy plants and/or growing equipment.
Physical safety is a big concern among vertical cultivators in particular. Slips and falls are always a prevalent danger in grow rooms, where humidity and moisture levels tend to be high. But when you’re working on higher tiers, the consequences of a fall could be especially disastrous. OSHA is starting to take notice of these conditions and have been taking a more active role inspecting cannabis operations.
Cannabis companies are vulnerable in numerous ways. Many, for instance, still have trouble accessing banking services, so they often have large cash reserves on site. This has made organizations across the cannabis industry, from retailers to cultivators, common targets for thieves.
And thieves aren’t just after cash. Cannabis is a valuable product that, if stolen, could be sold in illegal markets. Many indoor growers also utilize expensive equipment, which can be an attractive target.
Indoor cultivators need to keep humidity levels high (sometimes as high as 70%), meaning they must also be highly cautious of unwanted bacteria and fungi. Strict climate controls, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and personal protective equipment (PPE) are must-haves for minimizing the growth and health impact of airborne pathogens.
Whether indoor or outdoor, cannabis cultivation involves the use of chemicals. Outdoor growers, for example, may need more pesticides to minimize pest infestations. Indoor vertical farmers require more cleaning chemicals to sanitize growing equipment and maintain a highly-controlled indoor growing environment. Make sure your facility has updated Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) folder(s) readily accessible.
Additionally, greenhouse and indoor cultivators often use carbon dioxide to help increase plant yields. If CO2 levels are left unchecked, employees could experience headaches, dizziness, and, in the worst case, death.
With all of the water and electricity present in a grow space, it’s important to maintain compliance with national, state, and local regulations pertaining to building and fire codes. There are a multitude of strategies involved when considering fire safety, including different racking configurations and utilizing Slab Trays to increase fire suppression capabilities within vertical racks.
How Can You Stay Safe?
Adhere to Compliance Standards
Complying with federal, state, and local laws is the first step toward creating a safe growing facility. Beyond being a legal obligation, health and safety regulations are a valuable framework you can use to build out robust, safety-focused operating procedures. This not only minimizes the chances of receiving any legal infractions but also creates a safer, more productive work environment. Make sure your facility has an Injury and Illness Protection Plan (IIPP) in place spelling out your safety-related SOPs.
Use Personal Protective Equipment
Though it seems obvious, the importance of providing employees with personal protective equipment can’t be understated. From long-term UV exposure to potential chemical inhalation, there are numerous risks associated with cannabis grow rooms. Disposable protective clothing, gloves, respirators, and eyewear are examples of PPE you may need throughout the cultivation lifecycle.
Prioritize Climate Control
Maintaining correct temperature, humidity, and airflow levels are critical to keep biological and chemical dangers at bay. Airflow can also reduce the risk of physical injury by helping prevent moisture accumulation on your work surfaces.
Opt for a powerful air circulation system, like the Air Glide, that can deliver consistent airflow across the entire length of your vertical racking system.
Choose the Right Growing Equipment
Your equipment can enhance (or harm) your facility’s safety in several ways. First, you should opt for equipment designed to withstand grow room conditions and facilitate cleaning events. Grow Glide racks, for example, are coated to resist moisture, and our modular airflow system features anti-microbial ducts that can readily be dismounted and cleaned.
Your racks must also be robust and sturdy if you’ll be growing on multiple tiers. Our purpose-built racking system is built with cold rolled steel that maintains best-in-industry structural standards. For added safety, we created our integrated Grow Deck system, which securely locks into our racks so your employees can work with the peace of mind that they’re totally secure.
Grow Glide: A Better, Safer Way to Grow
Your priorities are our priorities, which is why we designed our growing solutions with safety front of mind. Reach out today to learn more about how Grow Glide boosts your grow room’s safety so you can elevate your business.