OSHA Cites Meatpacking Facilities for Coronavirus Violations
The meatpacking company experienced a coronavirus outbreak among employees, resulting in a penalty from OSHA.
- By Nikki Johnson-Bolden
- Sep 16, 2020
OSHA cited JBS Foods Inc. in Greely, Colorado on September 11, 2020 for failing to protect employees from exposure to coronavirus.
The company, which was ranked the second largest meat packing facility in America by The National Provisioner, received the citation in response to a violation of the general duty clause for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm. OSHA proposed $15,615 in penalties – the maximum allowed by law. JBS Foods must respond to the citation by complying, requesting an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings within 15 days of receipt.
“Employers need to take appropriate actions to protect their workers from the coronavirus,” said Amanda Kupper, OSHA Denver Area Director. “OSHA has meatpacking industry guidance and other resources to assist in worker protection.”
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), an organization that represents workers in meatpacking plants, called the fine JBS Foods received “insufficient” because the company’s violation resulted in 8 deaths and more than 200 infected workers.
JBS Foods also failed to supply an authorized employee representative with injury and illness logs in a timely manner after a May 2020 inspection by OSHA. Smithfield Food Inc. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received a citation for failing to protect employees from coronavirus as well, with a penalty of $13,494.
Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.