JBS USA contests alleged health and safety violations

GREELEY – JBS USA in Greeley is contesting 20 health and safety violations alleged by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a spokesman for the federal agency said this week.

JBS USA faces $83,000 in fines from OSHA in 11 “serious,” eight “other-than-serious” and one “repeat” violation, according to OSHA.

JBS USA workers at the company’s Greeley beef plant were exposed to unsafe working conditions that could lead to possible amputations and fall hazards, OSHA said earlier this month. They were also allegedly were exposed to high noise levels, high concentrations of carbon dioxide, an exposed electrical box and an unsafe ladder, among other hazards.

OSHA said it began inspecting JBS USA’s in December under a program that focuses enforcement on workplaces where high injury and illness rates occur.

The OSHA Review Commission will decide on the case, though no hearing date or location has been set, the spokesman said. The Review Commission, a separate federal agency, decides on cases stemming from inspections conducted by OSHA.

Cases are assigned to a Review Commission judge in Washington, D.C., or one of the agency’s regional offices in Atlanta and Denver. A hearing date and site is then selected.

During the hearings, government prosecutors represent OSHA and bear the burden of proving alleged violations. Employees and employers may appear with or without attorneys. Judges decide on the cases, which can be appealed to a three-member commission in Washington, D.C.

The OSHA spokesman declined to release documents to the Business Report related to JBS USA’s case. JBS representatives did not return phone calls.

JBS USA, a subsidiary of Brazilian meatpacker JBS S.A., employs more than 4,200 people in Greeley. The company’s Greeley plant has the capacity to process 5,400 cattle daily.

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