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JBS USA Fined $83,000 over Safety Violations

05 June 2013

US - US meat processor JBS USA in Greeley Colorado is to be fined more than $83,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 serious, one repeat and eight other-than-serious safety and health violations.

OSHA began an inspection in December 2012 under its Site Specific Targeting Program that directs enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces, where high injury and illness rates occur.

The serious violations associated with the safety portion of the inspection pertained to workers being exposed to potential fall hazards from elevated work areas, possible amputations due to the lack of proper machine guarding, not properly locking out equipment energy sources prior to performing maintenance work and failing to use safe work practices for electrical elements.

The serious violations associated with the health portion of the inspection focused on workers' high exposure to occupational noise, resulting in possible hearing loss, and the lack of training on the safe use of chemicals.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from exposure to a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The repeat violation was cited for failing to properly guard machinery exposing workers to ingoing nip points and rotating parts. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, or rule at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited at this same work site in 2009.

The other-than-serious violations include an exposed electrical box, an unsafe ladder, defective emergency egress signs, improper use of electrical cords, lack of electrical personal protective equipment and worker exposure to high concentrations of carbon dioxide. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"Abating OSHA violations is a sign that an employer wants to keep its workers safe, but in this case, the employer allowed these hazards to reoccur and continued to expose workers to possible amputation hazards, among others," said Herb Gibson, OSHA's area director in Denver.

"Employers must take the steps necessary to eliminate hazards from the workplace."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Denver area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In all JBS USA has been fined $83,414.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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