The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited JBS Foods for allegedly exposing employees to hazards at its facilities in Greeley, Colorado, following the death of a worker who was installing a paddlewheel.
OSHA investigators responded to a March 27 incident and determined 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 cited JBS Foods Inc. – operating as Swift Beef Co. – for eight serious violations related to the unsafe lifting process, for hazardous chemical and training violations. JBS faces $58,709 in proposed penalties following this investigation.
OSHA stated that the fatality occurred after several other incidents at the same facility, including a JBS worker who suffered 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. As a result, OSHA 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 OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper 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.”
Headquartered in Greeley, JBS Foods is a world leader in beef, poultry and pork production, with operations in the U.S., Australia and Canada. Its products are sold under more than 40 brand names in the U.S. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS S.A. based in Brazil, the world's largest processor of fresh beef and pork, with more than $50 billion in annual sales.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.