Trulieve to study ground-cannabis hazards in OSHA deal after worker death

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Under a settlement with a federal agency stemming from an employee’s death, Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis will study the potential hazards of ground marijuana dust.

The research is part of an agreement between Trulieve and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which earlier this year alleged that ground cannabis dust at the company’s facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts, contributed to the January death of worker Lorna McMurrey.

According to a news release, the study will determine if ground cannabis dust should be classified as a hazardous chemical.

The research, which Trulieve said will be completed by May 29, 2023, could have widespread impacts on the marijuana industry as a whole.

The company will also create a temporary training program about potential allergic reactions to ground cannabis dust and what to do if they arise.

Trulieve has also agreed to:

  • Pay a reduced fine of $14,502, down from $35,219.
  • Limit exposure to cannabis grinding where possible.
  • Increase the presence of first aid-trained workers.
  • Improve employee awareness of job transfers.
  • Implement the new training program permanently.

Under terms of the settlement, two citations against Trulieve originally classified as “serious” were withdrawn, including the lack of a safety data sheet – which OSHA requires for hazardous chemicals – and training employees under the agency’s hazard-communication standard.

A final citation ordering Trulieve to conduct a hazard analysis replaces an original citation that identified the standard for listing hazardous chemicals.

“Increased-scale manufacturing in our industry is a relatively new endeavor and we are determined to continually ask questions and seek answers to make our workplace the safest and healthiest it can possibly be,” Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said in a statement.

“We already have many protections in place, and we intend to continue our work with state and federal regulators to make sure workers are treated well.

“I want Trulieve to be a great place to work, and I will do everything possible to keep it that way.”