GREELEY, COLO. – After receiving a proposed fine last month, JBS USA and subsidiary Swift Beef Co. were once again sent a notice by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a fatality.
The agency said this notice came after the meat producer exposed employees to safety hazards at its processing plant in Greeley, Colo. JBS faces $58,709 in proposed penalties following this investigation.
According to the information released by OSHA, investigators responded to an incident on March 27. The agency said that JBS failed to adequately secure a paddlewheel being installed to churn chemicals used in processing animal hides. The paddlewheel along with the trolley and hoist used to lift it fell. An employee fell into an oval vat which contained the chemicals.
OSHA said other incidents have occurred at the same facility including a JBS worker suffering an arm amputation after being pulled into a conveyor belt; another worker who suffered laceration injuries while removing a hide; and a third worker who was exposed to a thermal burn hazard.
The agency has now cited the company for 11 serious violations including failing to ensure proper machine guarding and not implementing safe process procedures.
“Injuries are all too common for workers in the meat processing industry, but most are preventable when required safety and health regulations are followed,” said Amanda Kupper, area director of OSHA in Denver. “At the height of the pandemic, food processing industry workers helped feed our nation and keep our economy moving. The employees at this facility deserve better than to fear for their lives and their safety when they come to work.”
JBS can request an informal conference with the area director of OSHA within 15 business days of receiving the citation or comply.
“Team member health and safety is at the core of all our decisions, and we are committed to doing everything possible to protect our workforce and provide a safe environment for everyone,” a JBS spokesperson told to MEAT+POULTRY. “This tragic accident saddened all of us, and our heartfelt sympathies go out to the loved ones of our dedicated team member. “