JBS Greeley meatpacking plant cited in worker death

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FILE – In this Oct. 12, 2020 file photo, a worker heads into the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colo. Meatpacker JBS Foods Inc. faces about $59,000 in fines after a worker fell into vat of chemicals used to process animal hides and died at one of the company’s meat processing facilities in northern Colorado, officials said. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — The JBS meatpacking facility in Greeley faces tens of thousands in proposed fines after a worker died there in March.

The company — operating as Swift Beef Co. — faces $58,709 in penalties in the employee’s death, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Injuries are all too common for workers in the meat processing industry, but most are preventable when required safety and health regulations are followed,” OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper in Denver stated in the press release. “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.”

The worker died March 27 while installing a paddlewheel to churn chemicals for processing animal hides, OSHA said in a press release. The paddlewheel and the trolley and hoist used to lift it fell, and the worker fell into a vat with the chemicals.

OSHA cited the company for eight serious violations in the incident, including hazardous chemicals and training violations.

The company has 15 days from receiving the citations and penalties to comply, request a meeting or contest the findings.

Other JBS Greeley worker incidents

According to OSHA, the death is one of a number of recent incidents at the facility:

  • A worker’s arm was amputated after they were pulled into a conveyor belt
  • A worker suffered laceration injuries while removing a hide
  • A worker was exposed to a thermal burn hazard

OSHA cited the company for 11 serious violations in the incidents, “including failing to ensure proper machine guarding and not implementing safe process procedures.”

The company also faced penalties for failing to protect its workers from COVID-19 after six people at the plant and hundreds of workers had confirmed cases of the virus.

OSHA said JBS Foods, headquartered in Greeley, is a subsidiary of JBS S.A. based in Brazil, the world’s largest processor of fresh beef and pork.

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