Is Coffee a Carcinogen?

June 17, 2019
On June 3, 2019, California’s Office of Administrative Law approved the adoption of Title 27, California Code of Regulations, section 25704, Exposures to Listed Chemicals in Coffee Posing No Significant Risk. The regulation, which will be effective on October 1, 2019.  Section 25704 states, “Exposures to chemicals in coffee, listed on or before March 15, 2019 as known to the state to cause cancer, that are created by and inherent in the processes of roasting coffee beans or brewing coffee do not pose a significant risk of cancer.”
So, at least in California, it’s still ok to partake in that morning cup of joe. 
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After Recent Injuries, OSHA Seeks to Increase Awareness of Workplace Safety Hazards in the Electrical Industry
OSHA is seeking to raise awareness of hazards in the electrical industry in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. OSHA wants employers to work to reduce the number of serious injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among engineers, electricians, and other professionals who perform electrical operations including work on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies.
OSHA has resources to help keep workers safe from industry hazards, such as electrocutions, falls, fires and explosions. Its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs can assist employers with identifying and fixing hazards before they cause serious or fatal injuries.
From January 2015 through September 2018, OSHA conducted inspections in the three states after reports of 15 worker hospitalizations and two amputations. Six electrical and wiring installation contractors suffered fatal injuries between October 2012 and September 2018.
“Working with electricity can be safe if employers provide workers with adequate training, and implement appropriate systems to reduce the risk of workplace injuries,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille, in Kansas City, Missouri.
OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.
Roofing Contractor Fined over $1 Million After Employee’s Fatal Fall
OSHA has cited Shawn D. Purvis, owner of Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc. for egregious willful, repeat, and serious workplace safety violations. Purvis - a Saco, Maine, roofing contractor - faces a total of $1,792,726 in penalties. The enforcement action follows the death of an employee in Portland, Maine, on December 13, 2018.
OSHA inspectors found that Purvis knowingly failed to ensure the use of fall protection by his employees at the Portland worksite, and at a separate worksite in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
Due to Purvis’ knowledge of the hazard and required safeguards, along with an extensive history of violations, OSHA cited him for 13 egregious willful violations – one for each exposed employee per job site – for failing to ensure the use of fall protection. Each egregious citation carries the maximum allowable penalty of $132,598. OSHA also cited Purvis for failing to provide fall protection training to his employees, and for exposing them to electrocution and eye hazards. OSHA has cited the owner for seven violations of fall protection requirements since September 2006.
“Effective fall protection can prevent tragedies like this when an employer ensures the proper use of legally required lifesaving protection,” said OSHA Area Director David McGuan, in Augusta, Maine. “An ongoing refusal to follow the law exposes other employees to potentially fatal or disabling injuries. Employers cannot evade their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful worksite.”
On April 5, 2019, a Portland grand jury indicted Purvis for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter, charging that his repeated violations of OSHA’s fall protection standards caused his employee’s death.
See the Portland and Old Orchard Beach citations.
New Jersey Framing Contractor Fined for Exposing Employees to Fall Hazards
OSHA cited Navy Contractors Inc. for exposing employees to fall hazards at a work site in Lakewood, New Jersey. The company faces $84,183 in penalties for repeat and serious safety violations.
OSHA conducted an investigation in January 2019 after an inspector observed Navy Contractors’ employees performing roofing activities without fall protection. OSHA cited the company for failing to provide fall protection, ensure employees wore hardhats, train employees on ladder safety, and prevent the use of damaged ladders. OSHA previously cited the employer for similar violations in 2018 at sites in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“Failure to comply with OSHA fall protection requirements jeopardizes the safety of workers,” said OSHA Marlton Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick. “Fall hazards are well known, but they can be eliminated when workers are trained and protective equipment is used properly.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Two Companies Cited for PSM Violations After Fatal Fire at Natural Gas Processing Plant
OSHA cited Energy Transportation LLC and MW Logistics Services LLC for serious safety violations after a fatal fire at a natural gas processing plant in Houston, Pennsylvania. The Agency inspected Energy Transportation LLC, the company contracted to clean lines and vessels at the plant, after four of the company’s employees suffered burns and needed hospitalization. One of the employees later died. OSHA cited the company for violations of the process safety management (PSM) standard, and exposing employees to flammable vapor and liquid while they off-loaded waste material from a vessel into a mobile tank.
OSHA also inspected MW Logistics Services LLC, the host employer that operates the natural gas processing plant. The Agency cited the company for violations of PSM standards, and for failing to inspect the facility’s energy control procedures at least annually.
Energy Transportation LLC faces penalties totaling $51,148.  MW Logistics Services LLC faces $47,360 in penalties.
“Providing workers with a safe and healthful workplace is required of every employer,” said OSHA Area Director Christopher Robinson, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed safety processes to control the release of gases from highly hazardous chemicals.”
Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations (view the citations herehere, and here) and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
OSHA’s website has compliance assistance resources for process safety management.
Chemical Manufacturer Fined for Exposing Workers to Toxic Gas
OSHA cited Croda Inc. after a chemical release at the New Castle, Delaware, manufacturing plant exposed workers to ethylene oxide. The company faces $262,548 in penalties.
OSHA initiated an inspection after the exposure hospitalized one employee and left five others suffering symptoms of ethylene oxide (EtO) exposure. The Agency cited Croda Inc. for 25 serious violations, including deficient emergency action and response plans; failure to train employees on how to manage EtO leaks; and the use of fire protection, water deluge systems, and emergency shutdown procedures. The company also failed to develop procedures for emergency responders to manage firewater amid an EtO release, activate the emergency alarm system, and provide employees with respiratory protection.
“This incident could have been prevented if the employer had taken appropriate precautions,” said OSHA Area Director Erin G. Patterson, in Wilmington, Delaware. “By failing to follow well-known safety and health procedures, and provide training, they risked the health of their workers.”
Following receipt of the citations, Croda Inc. requested an informal conference with OSHA, and is working to reach a settlement with the Agency.
Georgia Water Services Company Fined After Employee Suffers Heat-Related Injury
OSHA cited Evoqua Water Technologies LLC – based in Thomasville, Georgia – for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat. The company faces $21,311 in penalties, including the maximum penalty allowed by law for the heat-related violation.
An employee suffered heat exhaustion and was hospitalized after working in direct sunlight and wearing required protective clothing during welding and fabrication work at a Key West, Florida, worksite. On the day of the hospitalization, the heat index ranged between 83 and 88 degrees. OSHA cited the employer for failing to protect workers exposed to outdoor heat hazards, and failing to report a hospitalization within 24 hours, as required.
“Employers must take proper precautions when employees are working outdoors in excessive heat conditions, including ensuring that workers have access to water, and take frequent rest breaks in cool shaded areas,” said OSHA Area Director Condell Eastmond, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
OSHA conducts training and outreach on heat-related workplace hazards every spring and summer. Information on establishing a heat illness prevention program, a video on protecting workers from heat illness, and resources with other suggested best practices are available on OSHA’s heat illness prevention page.
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