A well-known retail convenience store chain with more than 1,700 stores in California last week agreed to pay $1.5 million to resolve allegations that it failed to train store personnel who handled hazardous materials.
Like most convenience shops and fast food chains, the stores use carbon dioxide in their fountain beverage dispensers.
Both California and Federal worker safety laws require training for workers who handle or may be exposed to hazardous chemicals. Employees who handle carbon dioxide must have training to properly handle the chemical and detect leaks from tanks or supply lines.
Before reaching the settlement, the company revised its business practices to ensure that employees receive proper training in the future.
Meet OSHA HazCom training mandates for employees who handle hazardous chemicals in your workplace with the Hazard Communication Online Course (Available in English and Spanish).
Of the $1.5 million penalty, $948,000 is in civil penalties, with the rest divided between supplemental environmental projects and reimbursing CA environmental agencies for investigative and enforcement costs.
Hazards of CO2 in the Workplace
Carbon dioxide (CO2
)—a colorless, odorless, and non-flammable gas—is a simple asphyxiant, meaning it can displace the normal oxygen in breathing air and result in suffocation. Symptoms of CO2
exposure include headache and drowsiness at mild levels. At higher levels, symptoms can include rapid breathing, confusion, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
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