Settlement Reached with 7-Eleven, Inc. for Improper Hazardous Materials Filings

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced today a $1.525 million civil settlement with Texas-based 7-Eleven, Inc., to resolve allegations the company violated state laws requiring training of store personnel in hazardous-materials handling. The Alameda County District Attorney joined the District Attorneys of Contra Costa, Monterey, San Mateo, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Solano, Ventura, and Yolo Counties in the prosecution of this case.

7-Eleven is an operator and/or franchisor of over 1747 convenience stores throughout California. The stores use carbon dioxide for their carbonated fountain beverage systems. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, non-flammable gas. Carbon dioxide, which is typically stored in tanks onsite, is widely used by fast-food and convenience stores and is safe if handled properly. However, if not handled properly, carbon dioxide can leak unnoticed, displacing oxygen from the air, resulting in serious health effects or even death. California businesses that use carbon dioxide are required by law to train their employees on safe handling practices and how to detect leaks from tanks and supply lines, and must file a certified, complete, and accurate reports with local authorities at least annually confirming such training.

“Today’s settlement reconfirms our Office’s commitment to enforce state laws designed to protect workers and the public from accidents caused by the mishandling of potentially dangerous hazardous materials,” states Alameda County DA Nancy E. O’Malley. “My office will continue to work together with state and local agencies to investigate and prosecute environmental violations of law designed to protect our citizens.”

An investigation by the prosecutors’ offices began in 2015 after inspectors from the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health determined that 16 Alameda County 7-Eleven stores were violating laws pertaining to the training of employees who handle hazardous materials. The investigation revealed that, in contrast to reports filed by 7-Eleven on behalf of California stores, employees were not receiving the required training in the safe handling of carbon dioxide.

The settlement resolves allegations that 7-Eleven submitted certified reports for California stores that did not accurately and completely disclose employee-training information as required by state laws designed to ensure the safety of first-responders, employees, and customers.

The settlement was reached after verification of revisions to 7-Eleven’s business practices designed to ensure that all employees receive proper training. The case was resolved by way of a stipulated final judgment entered in Contra Costa County Superior Court and requires a monetary payment of $1.525 million from 7-Eleven, which is comprised of $948,000.00 in civil penalties, $252,000 for supplemental environmental projects promoting training for California environmental agencies and prosecutors, and $325,000 for reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. 7-Eleven must also abide by a permanent injunction to ensure future compliance with the implicated laws.

There are 69 7-Eleven stores in Alameda County

Posted on Aug 12, 2019