Cannabis Extraction Lab Health & Safety at MediPharm Labs
How Darren Parker works with his team to ensure everyone works and remains safe, every day
“When I first started at MediPharm Labs in 2017, the company consisted of our CEO, President, Office Manager and two Production employees, for a total of five. I came on as Facility Manager, bringing us to six. Our presumption was that we would have more employees – maybe 40 in the near future. In my first three weeks with the company, I wrote our Health and Safety Program for a company of 40.
Two years later, we have over 230 employees and occupy a 70,000 square foot facility, almost half of which is licensed by Health Canada for cannabis-related activities. The other half supports those activities.
Today, as our Director of Health and Safety, the same philosophy that guided me when I wrote that first program holds firm. That is, our people are our greatest asset and their safety is paramount in the conduct of our business. No task is so pressing that we ever find it acceptable to put anyone’s safety at risk. Ultimately, if employees are able to work in and enjoy a safe and healthy work environment, they will be more productive, engaged and just as dedicated to the success of this company as the six of us were at the beginning.”
A “perfect storm” industry
“In cannabis, we face what some safety professionals call the “perfect storm”. We’re a new company in a new industry, using new equipment, and developing new, innovative processes. We have large numbers of young and new workers to the cannabis industry. What makes my job even more challenging, is the fact that this industry has its roots, as most people know, in the black market. We’ve had to be innovative and strategic to address this, ensuring MediPharm Labs operates beyond the minimum compliance standards maintained by most industrial and manufacturing companies. We take great pride in the MediPharm Labs standard and are never satisfied with “good enough” but instead strive to make things better, more efficient and safer for our employees.
“In November 2019, I had the pleasure of making a presentation to the Simcoe County Fire Prevention Officers Association about the processes and hazards associated with cannabis processing equipment. To me, collaborating with the fire department and other first responders made all the sense in the world. Our local fire departments are amazing partners who support our ongoing activities and answer our questions, so I was happy to be able to give back to their organization. I’d like to do more outreach like this in the future to continue to build strong bonds with our community.”
“Ontario’s occupational exposure limits and regulations have undergone a significant amendment, taking effect in January 2020. Our respiratory protection program is already robust, but we’ve elected to bring in specialized consultants to assess the air quality in our cannabis production areas, ensuring our respiratory protection program is achieving the highest levels of protection possible. We’re updating the Health and Safety manual, led by Marlene Kesler, Manager, Health and Safety, to ensure our program is comprehensive and reflective of our growth and maturation over the past two years. The goal is to ensure everyone goes home safely to their families at the end of the day, every day.”
To learn what it’s like to work at MediPharm Labs, please visit our Careers section at medipharmlabs.com/contact/careers.