Nearly two years after a 27-year-old worker died at a Massachusetts cannabis production facility, state and federal investigators say work-related occupational asthma was the cause of death in the January 2022 incident. did. The first case of its kind “represents a missed opportunity for prevention,” the report said. analysis The findings were published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published on November 17th.
The CDC report “represents the findings of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation.” inspectionThis includes a workplace exposure assessment, interviews with co-workers and next of kin, review of medical records, and collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. ”
The report does not identify the deceased worker or the cultivation employer, but details include the case of Lorna L. McMurray, who died on January 7, 2022, while working at the Trulieve production facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Match. According to the OSHA report, the employee was grinding and packaging a pre-rolled joint when she complained that she couldn’t breathe.
As staff attempted CPR, she went into cardiac arrest before paramedics arrived. She was taken to the hospital, but she died shortly after she arrived.
After the incident, OSHA investigators conducted an examination that included a workplace exposure assessment, interviews with flower co-workers, and a review of family and medical records. The investigation found that four out of 10 colleagues with similar responsibilities also had respiratory tract or skin symptoms, even though particulate dust concentrations and other potential airborne hazards were below acceptable limits. It has been found.
But a new CDC report says OSHA only analyzed air quality after the grinder was connected to a new factory vacuum with HEPA filtration.
McMurray’s family said she smoked marijuana recreationally but never had asthma until she started working at Trulieve.she also said her mother NBC Two months before her death, she had trouble breathing while at work and was taken to the hospital.
“That’s when it all became clear that she had asthma, but she had never had trouble breathing in her entire life,” said her mother, Laura Bruneau. “She expressed her concerns to her supervisor.”
According to the CDC report, dust from the grinder was collected by a store vacuum, but the vacuum did not have a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, allowing visible dust to escape. Ta. Additional dust generated by handling the ground product outdoors, such as transferring the product from a grinder to a pre-roll.
The report also noted that McMurray’s co-workers reported that their coughs became more intense while using the grinder. To alleviate her cough, the outside of the dust-covered grinder vacuum was covered with plastic, and Ms. McMurray’s workstation was moved outside the grinder room. She also used her own N95 mask and wore the required long sleeves and gloves while working.
“Occupational allergic diseases, including asthma, are an emerging concern in the rapidly expanding U.S. cannabis industry,” the CDC said at the beginning of the report. “There is an incubation period of several months to several years before symptoms appear,” he added.
The CDC says such incidents are best prevented through a “multifaceted approach, including controlling exposure to asthma triggers such as cannabis dust, providing worker training, and conducting medical monitoring for occupational allergies.” It was concluded that this can be achieved effectively. The report also suggested that evaluation of workers with new-onset or worsening asthma is “essential”, along with prompt diagnosis and medical management. This could include “stopping work” or granting workers’ compensation benefits if symptoms are related to work-related exposures.
“It is important to recognize that operations in cannabis production can be a contributing factor,” the report states.