Safety Training: Let's have a Fire Drill

This community uses its collective power to solve problems, create new technologies and support people in this wild ride of cannabis all over the world. Let’s get some of that energy focused on safety training and compliance. Threads like this one make it all too clear that even in regulated labs with proper safety equipment, accidents happen.

We talk a lot about GMP and it is usually in relation to equipment and lab design. This, a culture of safety and the infrastructure to maintain it are as essential to GMP compliance as equipment that is CIP or wrapped in IQ/OQ/PQ. A safety plan isn’t a box to be checked at a Fire Marshal inspection. It is a mindset and culture that prioritizes safety above all else, every minute of every day. Safety and Quality are inseparable parts of the foundation for any operation. Here are some basic components of a safety plan:

  1. Actual commitment from management that this is a priority. It will take time and money (not much, but some) to implement and it needs to be values as necessary by all management.
  2. A person in charge who is empowered to take the time to do it right and keep it going. In my experience, the most impactful Safety Officers are closest to the work.
  3. Time to evaluate, organize, train and maintain compliance and readiness.
  4. Buy in from all employees and management.

There are tons of free resources online. If you find good ones, please share.

Here are some to get us started:

  1. Training | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (
  2. Good articles here
  3. Lots of free info here about forming and maintaining a safety program

If your company has a robust safety program, please contribute by posting helpful links and files. If you are a safety/quality consultant, chime in. As my friend @Graywolf says, “It is time for a Safety meeting!”


Often the base of safety and accountability I like to build on is:

  1. Safety data sheets maintained in wall mounted binders. And then making all employees sit through a briefing as we read though all of them together. (Including the hand soap in the bathroom) everything in the facility should be printed and listed in that binder

  2. Clearly marked exit doors with lit signs utilizing push bars on them that open to the outside.

  3. Fire extinguishers with signs that are visible anywhere in the facility. big red signs a few feet above the mounted extinguisher are 100% necessary

  4. Spill kits and fire blankets placed around the facility

  5. SOPs that are taught and signed off on by every employee in the facility. Not just the process SOPs, but daily cleaning tasks, and safety/exit protocols as well

  6. Preventative maintenance plans with logs that must be performed on an ongoing and regular basis

  7. Identification of problem areas. Where are the solvents stored? what are there properties? Is there any risk of contamination given the current storage area?

  8. Outside of all the fire safety, danger of drowning in vats of etOH, and blowing yourself up… Protecting the integrity of your building is of utmost importance. So having plans in place to sign in and out visitors and employees is a good start. Visitors oftentimes don’t know what they are looking at and the last thing you want is some one to start pushing buttons or disconnecting things. So set up control areas where only certain personal are allowed entry and if visitors are a common occurrence, mark areas on the floor with yellow paint or tape marking the areas they are permitted to enter

Edit: this is very baseline, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to suggest all of those things in 90% of the hemp labs I visit


We have been guilty of the visitors getting a pass scenario from years back. Personal effects lockers aren’t just for employee’s, they work well for visitors too. Getting humans to let loose of their car keys and cell phones is almost impossible.

Ensuring static electricity is discharged is huge. Proper shoes and grounding techniques are paramount to safety.


While it’s not exactly on topic, larger, new construction/addition, and older facilities should get emergency responder radio coverage (ERRC) testing conducted by a licensed 3rd party. Typically, the Fire Marshel would request the test results if she/he deems testing a requirement to meet relevant IFC and NFPA codes; but they aren’t always on top of their game.

If testing finds issues with ERRC the testing company should be able to install hardware to address the issues.

Here’s a good PowerPoint presentation at the 2020 BISCSI Winter Conference by JDRM Engineering:
First Responder Radio Coverage Code Requirements, Test Procedures and Amplification System Requirements

Oh, it’s “that” of safety meeting?! I’m sure you’ll get more attendees now! LOL
giphy (15)


This is another point I forgot to mention!

Put those triangles up on every entry point to the building and on solvent storage cabinets so, god forbid something does happen, the fire people will be able to know what they are dealing with b4 busting in to a firey death pit


This :arrow_up:

And while putting up NFPA signage for compliance, make sure to place signs on doors leading to grow rooms with CO2 supplementation (tank or burner) and extraction rooms using a CO2 system:


And maybe something like this for C1D1/2 rooms? Even though it’s not required by code AFAIK. I’m thinking about the KY fire thread, where @Future wrote that an employee brought in a non-allowed tool which set a beaker of ethanol on fire (and then said employee carried flaming beaker of ethaonl outside the control room):



Also, invite the fire dept for a tour to familiarize them with the facility layout. Show them the locaiton of the flammable storage cabinets, C1D1/2 rooms and other hazard areas, and where they can find MSDS folders (which should be next to the hazard areas). Give an MSDS folder to the Fire Marshal so they have one at their firehouse, along with a floor plan with notations showing hazard areas/flammable cabinets.


Don’t forget Nitrogen. Our favorite inert gas is an oxygen replacer.



Everyone here that either works in a lab, owns a lab, has a friend or relative that has access to a lab should read this thread. One of the things we hear most from our useless politicians is “those labs are unsafe and a fire hazard so I’m sure the products are just as dangerous”…let’s give them zero reason to have this mindset and maybe we can reverse their mindset and become beacons for safety in this work environment.


We hold safety meetings 3 times a day…


I am not trying to be salty and may not be 100% so flame away. MSDS and PSDS are the antiquated terms for SDS.

Same thing, just updated format.

Thanks for the Nitrogen sign idea too. We have all of tanks with proper labels on them, but they do get turned in where the signage isn’t visible.

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Part of the quality mindset is not telling you to fuck right off with that info because this was how I learned it and I have been saying it this way for a long time. :wink:

You are correct and I will endeavor to upgrade my nomenclature.


One thing I would like to add that I have done at my facility is have an “oh shit” crate outside of the lab. In it I have 2 full face VOC respirators, 2 full body tyvek suits with nitrile gloves as well as a chemical sprayer with bicarb solution in it. I want to be prepared for a hazardous chemical spill and I wanted to ensure that we would have equipment to use outside of the affected zone. I know that all of that may not be necessary for an ethanol or hexane spill. But after smelling acetic anhydride in a glass bottle with concrete floors, I wanted to make sure that we would be prepared if it hit the floor or any other chemical that we get in the future for that matter.





I assume most of us are old enough to have been alive when MSDS was all the rage. I hope everyone knows that MSDS = SDS.

After I wrote those posts, I thought, “maybe I should edit MSDS to SDS,” but then I got sidetracked adding events to my calendar for 2023 AD…oops…I mean CE. :wink:

Besides, I assumed there’s no way anyone is pedantic enough to point out SDS is the current term without at least adding something of value to the discussion; other than pedanticism that this. And you proved me wrong, yet again! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Also, it would help my hurt feelings if you at least ‘liked’ my posts after that salty AF outburst of yours!




When I worked for a organization that was connected to the military, that required frequent and excessive safety meetings, they were all scheduled (for our group) to involve fun activities.

Spend hours in the sun training with real fires to fight them? Afternoon is a swim and sport session.

Spend all day in a classroom going over boring power points? Evening is a BBQ and movie night.

Attendance is mandatory, make people want to be there.


Been upgrading some other safety features around the lab. Anyone have a good explosion proof emergency light company they can recommend? The lights we had, worked well before we built out another section in our lab. Now we want to make all the lights uniform and have the place lit up well enough for proper egress during a power outage. For reference, we have already had two outages this year and without a cell phone, auxiliary lighting is a must…and ours was just good enough to find the door. In an emergency situation, it is far from adequate.

And I’ve been told to fuck right off by better and worse :slight_smile:

I did see an 18 year old post up a couple days back. I assume they didn’t learn with MSDS like I did as well.


Larson is a reliable source for exproof stuff. Pricing ranges from really good to lol no. But they will almost certainly have whatever you need.


Did someone say MSDS?


Like Lincoln said, Larson is a good source for explosion-proof lighting. I have had good success with the model EPL-LB-50LED-RT on their website, paired up with an exterior emergency battery backup system similar to this:

It would require some electrical work, but this is how we stay consistent with the lighting fixtures while also having a 90-minute battery backup for egress. In non classified environments we use the exit signs with backup lighting already integrated.


I wonder if anyone is willing to ask for help developing a basic safety plan. Maybe someone has a safety plan, but it was all copy and paste and it’s covered with dust.

If someone is willing to raise their hand, there will be no shaming. Just helping.

C’mon. Who is willing to spruce up their safety game with the hive mind?