The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began an inspection Nov. 12, 2015, at the Atlantic Coffee Industrial Solutions LLC facility in Houston after the release of carbon dioxide asphyxiated a 53-year-old shift supervisor.
Following its inspection, OSHA issued citations for nine serious violations on May 11, 2016. The employer did not provide proper training to its workers for stopping the release of a hazardous chemical. Additionally, the company did not have the proper procedures in place for stopping releases. Proposed penalties total $63,000
"The uncontrolled release of carbon dioxide is dangerous,” said Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director in the Houston South office. “If the employer expects its workers to stop the release, it must develop and implement a detailed emergency response plan with specific procedures for stopping the release. Untrained employees can quickly find themselves in a chaotic situation not knowing what to do and suffering serious or sometimes deadly injury."
Atlantic Coffee Industrial Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of ECOM Atlantic Inc., an affiliate of Ecom Agroindustrial Corp., the world's top coffee merchant. It is also one of the world's largest coffee millers, and among the top five merchants in both cotton and cocoa. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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