Part of the meat-packing industry that gave the NFL’s Green Bay Packers their name faces $221,726 in proposed OSHA fines after equipment violations led to an employee’s hand injuries, the Department of Labor said.
JBS Green Bay, a part of JBS USA and Brazilian meat processing giant JBS S.A., was cited for one willful and 10 serious violations in late September after March’s investigation into an injurious incident and an April inspection.
A Department of Labor spokesman said in an e-mail that the worker “reached into a machine to move a box when the box rake activated and caught his left hand, pulling it into the machine. This resulted in a fracture, puncture wounds, lacerations and a pinched nerve to his left hand.”
Of the potential fines, $129,336 comes from the willful violation, defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as “a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”
In this case, JBS had no guards against some dangerous moving machine parts.
One of the serious violations cited JBS for not having “developed and documented” procedures for doing service tasks, such as clearing a jammed machine. Another serious violation dinged JBS for not making sure workers turned the machine off before the injured worker tried to clear out the box.
The Department of Labor also conducted a health inspection after finding employees had been “exposed to an ammonia release. The company was cited for having an inadequate process safety management program.”
The last few weeks have put the invisible meat processing giant in unflattering spotlights. The week after the Department of Labor announced these fines, JBS Tolleson recalled 6.9 million pounds of beef after 57 salmonella cases traced back to ground beef from the Tolleson, Arizona, plant.
Friday, the first consumer lawsuit was filed against JBS Tolleson on behalf of a Florence, Kentucky woman who, the lawsuit claims, was hospitalized for four days after getting salmonella from JBS Tolleson-made beef sold at Sam’s Club.
No Sam’s Club locations made the first retail list of stores that got the recalled beef, although these lists can be updated frequently with large recalls.