JBS, OSHA reach agreement on safety plan after COVID-19 outbreaks in Green Bay, Colorado
GREELEY, Colo. (WBAY) - JBS Foods has reached a settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to implement an infectious disease preparedness plan at seven plants, including the facility in Green Bay.
The Colorado-based meat processor was cited in 2020 for failure to protect workers from coronavirus hazards.
Citations were issued after OSHA inspected JBS Green Bay and Swift Beef Co in Greeley, Colorado, in April and May of 2020.
The Green Bay JBS plant closed from April 26, 2020 to May 6, 2020. By August of that year, there were 357 positive cases among workers. Two Green Bay workers died of COVID-19.
The Colorado plant reported five worker deaths.
The facilities were fined $14,502.
“This settlement is intended to ensure that, going forward, protective measures are in place to protect workers at these facilities from COVID-19 and from other infectious diseases as well,” said OSHA’s Regional Administrator Jennifer Rous in Denver. “This settlement will positively impact the safety and health of JBS employees far beyond the two facilities where these inspections occurred.”
OSHA says JBS will update its safety plan to reduce exposure to COVID-19.
“Employers are legally obligated to provide workers with a safe and healthful workplace, and the U.S. Department of Labor is committed to holding employers accountable when they fail to do so,” said Regional Solicitor John Rainwater, in Dallas. “Terrible tragedies occurred at JBS facilities in Greeley and Green Bay, and we will ensure that this agreement is in full force to prevent a mass outbreak from happening again.”
The company will work with third-party experts on the following:
– Review JBS’s existing programs and procedures, including its occupational health system.
– Evaluate and provide recommendations regarding engineering, administrative, and work practice controls, including ventilation, employee and visitor screening protocols, and cleaning.
– Identify personal protective equipment and respiratory protection needs, including the number of respirators and other PPE to stockpile in preparation for future outbreaks, epidemics, or pandemics.
– Address occupational health issues related to infectious disease prevention and response, and provide recommendations on a continuity of operations plan.
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