OHS Canada Magazine

Cannabis producers should heed call for PPE donations

Health-care facilities across Canada require equipment


March 30, 2020
By Mari-Len De Guzman
Mari-Len De Guzman
Categories
Hazmat
Health & Safety

Cannabis facilities maintain a stockpile of PPEs for their bio-secure production facilities. (GrowOpportunity.ca)

As I was watching the news on March 23, I saw health officials from different part of the country issue the same call: We are running out of personal protective equipment for frontline health-care workers.

Suddenly remembering I had a bag full of disposable protective hair nets, I called my nurse friend who works at a nearby hospital and asked her if they are in need of such. She replied, “Oh, God. Yes!”

Health officials across Canada are sounding the alarm of an impending shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) for health-care workers as they continue to deal with an increasing number of cases of COVID-19.

The cannabis industry must step up and heed this call.

Over the last few weeks many Canadian cannabis companies have issued statements indicating the measures they have taken to “protect the safety of its workers and its customers.”

These measures range from enhanced sanitation protocols and asking non-essential employees to work from home to implementing rotating shift schedules to ensure safe distancing between employees and cancelling work-related travels.

These measures are all to comply with calls from government and public health officials to “flatten the curve” and slow the progression of COVID-19, in an effort to prevent the health-care system from getting inundated.

Public health officials are now facing a new challenge and are issuing a new call that requires immediate action to continue to protect our health-care workers who are putting their lives on the line to care for the sick.

The impending shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health-care workers are now being communicated to the public and hospitals and health-care facilities across the country are asking for donations from the the public and the private sector.

Cannabis companies maintain a good supply of these PPEs at their facilities as they are required to maintain bio-secure production facilities — masks, gowns, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizers, wipes. These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures and yes, generosity.

Diverting some of those PPEs to hospitals and emergency responders can literally help save lives.

I urge Canada’s licensed producers and the entire cannabis industry to respond with swiftness. Connect with local health officials in your community and find out how you can donate some of your PPE and help protect those that continue, day and night, to protect us.

Big thanks to those who have already responded and are doing what they can to help. If there ever was a moment in history when the cannabis industry can demonstrate the compassion that we know is inherent in this community, this is that moment.

We are all in this together.

Mari-Len De Guzman is the editor of Grow Opportunity, a sister publication of OHS Canada.