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News Brief

Lack of emergency training at Houston coffee roaster cited by OSHA in deadly gas release that asphyxiated shift supervisor

Atlantic Coffee Industrial Solutions issued 9 serious citations, fined $63K

Employer name: Atlantic Coffee Industrial Solutions LLC

Inspection site: 3900 Harrisburg Blvd., Houston

Citations issued: May 11, 2016

Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an inspection Nov. 12, 2015, at the Atlantic Coffee 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. 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: $63,000

Quote: “The uncontrolled release of carbon dioxide is dangerous. 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,” said Mark Briggs, OSHA’s area director in the Houston South office. “Untrained employees can quickly find themselves in a chaotic situation not knowing what to do and suffering serious or sometimes deadly injury.”

Link to the citations:

Information: 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.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration
May 12, 2016
Release Number
Media Contact: Juan Rodriguez