OSHA: Cultivation Worker Dies After She Inhales Cannabis Dust
According to an online news report on Boston.com, a company was fined $35,000 by OSHA for hazard communication violations following the tragic death of an employee. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's investigation found that the marijuana cultivation worker tragically died after she inhaled ground cannabis dust. The worker complained that she could not breathe and then passed out. She was transported to the Baystate Medical Center, where she tragically passed away. OSHA resolved that she died of occupational asthma.
Occupational asthma is a medical condition in which the airways swell and narrow. Occupational asthma can happen when a worker breathes in dust, chemical fumes, gases, or other substances while they are on the job. The illness can cause an immunological response or allergic reaction. Occupational asthma can lead to wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Avoiding occupational triggers is an essential part of managing the illness. If occupational asthma is not correctly diagnosed, the affected worker can sustain permanent changes to their lungs.
According to OSHA, the company was fined due to three violations of hazard communication standards, did not compile a list of dangerous chemicals on site, did not create a safety data sheet for hazardous materials, and failed to provide employees with training concerning working with hazardous chemicals. OSHA tested the facility's air quality and found samples that were well below acceptable ranges. OSHA inspection also found that employees in Flower Production had been exposed to substantial levels of ground cannabis, and the workers had not been provided with training on the hazards involved in the cannabis grinding process.
The company has already contested the violations and the fine.
The Cannabis Control Commission provided a statement saying that it was aware of the tragic death and that it has begun an ongoing investigation into the incident. The Commission also stated that it would continue to coordinate with public health officials to find out what the contributing circumstances were that caused her death. State regulations mandate that licensees provide sanitary conditions at their facilities and report all public safety happenings.
The family stated that they were considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. The family stated that things "had to change for the protection of the employees." The family hopes that these tragedies do not happen to anyone else.
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