Minnesota Introduces Safety Bill for Meatpacking Workers

Minnesota Introduces Safety Bill for Meatpacking Workers

If the legislation is passed, meatpacking employers would be required to provide paid sick leave and PPE to their employees.

Minnesota lawmakers have introduced a bill that, if passed, will protect workers at meatpacking facilities from circumstances related to COVID-19, according to Insurance Journal.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Dan Wolgamott of St. Cloud, Minnesota. The proposed legislation would give workers at meat processing facilities paid leave that can be used when workers need to recover from injuries or illness. Under this bill, employers who fail to offer paid leave would be prosecuted.

The coronavirus pandemic served as motivation to push this new bill, which adds on to a piece of legislation passed in 2007 that “requires the plants to provide adequate safety equipment to employees and information about their rights as workers.” The pandemic presented more health risks for meatpacking workers as social distancing measures have not been enforced in many facilities. Workers in these facilities are also struggling to get vaccinated amid plant-wide coronavirus outbreaks.

“Everyday myself and my coworkers put our lives on the line when we go to work,” said Antonio Jimenez, an employee at a JBS pork plant. “I was here at the plant when the COVID outbreak happened—no one wants that to ever happen again.”

If passed, the bill would also require employers to provide free PPE to employees as well as breaks for proper disinfection.

About the Author

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

Product Showcase

  • Industrial Vacuum Cleaners

    Industrial Vacuum Cleaners

    VAC-U-MAX industrial vacuum cleaners for combustible dust, flammable liquid, and reactive powder are ATEX-certified and do not require electricity for operation—only compressed-air. These Intrinsically-Safe Systems come complete with vacuum cover, collection drum, tool kit, vacuum hose, and dolly—and do not release thermal or electric energy which can cause ignition. For more information and RFQ visit www.vac-u-max.com/vacuum or call (800) VAC-U-MAX. 3

  • Safety Training

    Safety Training

    Become a Master of Safety Training. Take your safety training from good to great with SafeStart. Improve your personal training skills, discover the training principles that offer maximum impact, and learn the secrets of training for relevance and results. Start delivering top-notch safety training—download the guide today. 3

  • Make selection & use of SRLs simpler with the new V-SHOCK line

    Make selection & use of SRLs simpler with the new V-SHOCK line

    The new MSA V-SHOCK EDGE Cable SRLs and Web PFLs for Leading Edge use are designed for simplicity and hassle-free safety. V-SHOCK EDGE solutions help make PPE selection on the jobsite quick and easy with color-coded housings, clear icons on labels, and clearance charts in the label pack. 3