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Cannabis worker death raises concerns over respiratory hazards: Report


The January 2022 death of a Massachusetts cannabis worker has raised concerns about potential respiratory health hazards for those employed in the marijuana industry, state regulators said in a report issued on Thursday.

In a joint report authored by the Massachusetts Public Health Department and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, asthma exacerbation was highlighted as a potential workplace hazard for those working in cannabis flower production.

The report followed an investigation into the Jan. 2, 2022, death of a flower production technician at an indoor cannabis cultivation and processing facility.

The report doesn’t name the worker, the company or the facility where the death occurred, only saying the company operates in multiple states.  

Death contributing factors included failing to recognize ground cannabis as a potential occupational respiratory hazard, failing to adequately control the spread of airborne cannabis dust, and failing to implement a comprehensive safety and health program and overall safety training, the report states.

Massachusetts investigators recommended ensuring that all cannabis workers are trained about hazardous materials, and that companies assess and control hazardous materials in the workplace including asthmagens, the report states.

NIOSH said its investigators have conducted health hazard evaluations at cannabis growing and processing worksites nationwide that revealed irritants from working with cannabis plants as a top concern among cannabis workers.