Cannabis Dust a Major Respiratory Hazard?

The 2022 death of a Massachusetts cannabis worker has the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concerned about asthma hazards in the industry.

NIOSH and the Massachusetts Department of Health investigated the incident and found that the facility’s failure to recognize ground cannabis as a potential occupational respiratory hazard contributed to the incident.

The investigation report listed failure to adequately control the spread of airborne cannabis dust and the lack of a comprehensive safety and health program with proper training as additional contributing factors. The investigation report recommended employers in the cannabis industry:

  • Assess and control hazardous materials in the workplace, including those that cause asthma, also known as asthmagens
  • Properly train all workers about hazardous materials in the workplace
  • Develop and apply a comprehensive safety and health program, and
  • Implement a medical surveillance program to monitor the health of exposed workers.

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