Meatpacking Industry Voices Concerns about OSHA Citations

Meatpacking Industry Voices Concerns about OSHA Citations

The meatpacking industry feels that its employees are at risk of contracting COVID-19 after plant outbreaks.

Meatpacking employees are critiquing OSHA for issuing an insufficient number of citations and low fines for plants that violate OSHA coronavirus regulations, according to the New York Times.

OSHA has only fined two meatpacking plants, one being JBS Foods Inc., for a combined total that is less than $30,000. Workers at a Maid-Rite plant in Pennsylvania filed a case that accuses OSHA of “lax regulation.”

“The number of plants with outbreaks was enormous around the country, but most OSHA offices haven’t yet issued any citations,” said David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary for OSHA.

Union officials are concerned that the deficit in meatpacking industry citations will result in more plant outbreaks.

OSHA defends instances of delayed intervention at plants with worker safety complaints—such Maid-Rite employees’ complaint of risk of infection at work due to incorrect social distancing—as cases that did not present “imminent danger.”

About the Author

Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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