Canadian Underwriter

Loss control for grow-ops

March 19, 2018   by Marc Raymond, Vice President, Professional Development Specialist, Afirm Solutions

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As the cannabis industry transitions from underground to mainstream, licensed cannabis producers, processing facilities and dispensaries will require coverages akin to a myriad of other crop products and processing industries. From a loss control point of view, we need to focus less on the type of vegetation and more on the environments, processes, and ancillary exposures surrounding the cannabis industry.

Indoor nurseries and greenhouses are places where marijuana plants are grown for use as budding stock. A variety of fertilizers, natural herbicides, and pesticides — as well as carbon dioxide — are used to control disease, insects, and to promote plant growth. These products must not only be handled properly, but stowed in a specially labeled storage cabinet, room, or separate structure due to their possible toxicity or volatility.

Electricity risks arise from the fact that plants in a greenhouse operation are unable to benefit from natural sunlight and warm weather. Therefore, many grow lights, as many as one for every 16 square feet, are critical in greenhouse operations, in addition to heating and ventilation equipment.

Electrical components can ignite fires if not installed or maintained by a licensed electrician in accordance with code requirements. Operators unfamiliar with these requirements might, to save time or money, use common electrical components unsuitable for a given environment instead of more expensive or recommended options. They may also do so without regard for acceptable installation practices.

Additional fire loading, — which consists of the inventory of plants, plant containers, mulch, and combustible racking — must also be taken into consideration when designing, installing, and maintaining fire detection and suppression devices such as sprinklers and fire extinguishers.

A formal education is seldom required for entry-level labourers in nursery operations. Therefore, proper on-the-job training and instruction is an important facet of loss control initiatives in this arena.

Read the full article in the Digital Edition of the March 2018 Canadian Underwriter.

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Marc Raymond, Vice President, Professional Development Specialist, Afirm Solutions