Trulieve Pushes Back Against Media Coverage of Employee’s Death at Holyoke Facility

Trulieve has released a statement disputing some of the press reports about the death of employee Lorna McMurrey at the company’s facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts in January.

Full story after the jump.

Trulieve is pushing back against what it describes as “false reporting” surrounding the death of Lorna McMurrey, the 27-year-old who died at the company’s Holyoke, Massachusetts facility caused by what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) initially described as inhaling “ground cannabis dust.” 

In a press release, Trulieve outlined the air quality systems in place at the Holyoke facility, saying that “appropriate industrial air systems” were “installed and at all times operated” within the processing areas of the facility and that the Holyoke facility in particular “has a special industrial air filtration system that exchanges the air in the grinding room” which had been certified by an independent engineer. The company said it also uses Abatement Technology Air Scrubbers, described as “two stage air carbon filtrations for odor control” that exchange and clean the air at regular intervals.  

Trulieve said that its employees are provided N95 masks “contrary to reports” that claimed the company “only offered paper masks” and that McMurrey wore an N95 mask “for at least a portion of the day, contrary to reports” that allege she was wearing a paper mask. 

In the press release, Trulieve laid out what it describes as the events that led up to McMurrey’s death:   

“On January 4, 2022, Ms. McMurrey arrived at the Holyoke facility for her regular shift. She spent the day working in the pre-roll area, contrary to reports stating she was in the flower grinding room. 

When Ms. McMurrey indicated to her supervisor that she was not feeling well, she was told that she could take the day off with pay, contrary to reports stating we insisted she continue working. However, she opted to return to work in the pre-roll area. 

When Ms. McMurrey began to appear to be in distress, Trulieve followed appropriate protocols. A manager promptly called 911. A trained member of the Trulieve security team began to provide CPR, contrary to reports stating that no CPR assistance was provided. EMS arrived quickly and took over management of the response. 

Upon arrival at the facility, it took EMS personnel less than one minute to begin medical attention to Ms. McMurrey, contrary to reports stating that it took medics a long time to reach the patient once they arrived at the facility. 

Ms. McMurrey was taken to Baystate Hospital where, unfortunately, she passed away on Friday, January 7.” — Truvlieve in a press release, Oct. 20, 2022 

The company said its managers, security, and supervisors are “regularly” trained in the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and that all three employees who administered CPR to McMurrey had participated in “full certification CPR training” less than a month before the incident. 

Trulive said that “contrary to initial reports” the company reported that McMurrey had collapsed to both the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission and OSHA within 24 hours of the incident and reported her passing to both organizations the following day. 

Regarding the OSHA investigation, Trulieve said OSHA took “multiple air samples” which “complied with relevant standards” and the agency only issued citations “under the hazard communication standard.” According to OSHA’s website, the Hazard Communication Standard requires that “all employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.”

Trulieve is contesting those citations, which totaled $35,219. 

“Our thoughts are with the McMurrey family for their loss. Trulieve will continue to operate its facilities in a manner that fully protects the health and safety of all employees,” the company said in its press release. “We are confident we did so in January and will continue to do so going forward.” 

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