Packing Plant Fatality brings Safety Fines

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 @ 12:12 PM gHale

A 54-year-old worker ended up fatally injured when his hair and arm caught in an unguarded conveyor system and his employer, JBS USA LLC, is facing $45,500 in fines for failing protect workers from moving machine parts by properly guarding or de-energizing the equipment, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

After a June inspection, OSHA cited the Greeley, CO, meat packing plant for one repeat and one serious violation. JBS USA, or also known as JBS Swift, employs 3,100 workers in Greeley and operates facilities worldwide.

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“When workers are exposed to unprotected moving equipment, they can become entangled quickly. Unfortunately, the consequences can be fatal,” said Herb Gibson, OSHA’s area director in Denver. “If JBS USA had followed simple, well-known safety practices, this tragic incident could have been prevented.”

OSHA’s Denver Area Office cited JBS USA for one repeated violation, with a $38,500 fine, for exposing workers to severe injuries from lack of machine guarding, such as crushed fingers or hands, burns, amputations or blindness. A repeated violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The Greeley plant received a similar violation, and it became a final order in 2010.

OSHA cited a serious violation, with a $7,000 penalty, for failure to properly control energy sources on machinery during service and maintenance. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.



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