JBS Penalized Over Hazards at Wisconsin Meat Plant

Federal investigators inspected the facility after a worker's fingers were crushed.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. ‒ Federal safety inspectors responded to a Wisconsin employer’s report of an amputation found workers at a Green Bay beef processing plant exposed to multiple hazards, including inadequate guards to protect employees from machines in operation.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigating a December 2022 injury at JBS Green Bay Inc. found the worker suffered crushing injuries to his right index and middle fingers while removing a shackle from a cow moving down a trolley line. Agency officials also found that JBS failed to ensure that there was adequate guarding in place on the trolley line to protect workers from pinch points.

OSHA cited JBS Green Bay Inc. for four repeat, four serious and two other-than-serious violations. Other infractions were related to lockout/tagout, fall and electrical hazards and hazard communication. The agency proposed $227,786 in penalties.

“Unfortunately, injuries to workers in the meat processing industry are common but they can be prevented when required safety procedures are followed,” explained OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wisconsin. “JBS Foods is well aware of these typical industry hazards and of their legal obligation to provide employees with a safe and healthful workplace.”

OSHA expanded the inspection under its Local Emphasis Program for Wisconsin’s food manufacturing industry instituted in April 2022. LEPs are created when OSHA sees industry injury rates exceed averages. Food manufacturing workers often face hazards related to improper machine guarding and lockout/tagout failures that expose them to serious injury, illness and death.

Headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, JBS Foods is a leading producer of beef, poultry and pork production, with operations in the U.S., Australia and Canada. Its products are sold under dozens of brand names including Swift, Primo and Pilgrims in the U.S. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS S.A. 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 the 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.

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