JBS Foods cited after worker dies in Colorado chemical vat

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Meatpacker JBS Foods Inc. faces about $59,000 in fines after a worker fell into vat of chemicals used to process animal hides and died at one of the company’s meat processing facilities in northern Colorado, officials said.

The employee at the plant in Greeley fell into the vat March 27 while trying to install a paddlewheel used to churn the chemicals, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Investigators determined that JBS failed to adequately secure a trolley and hoist that were being used to lift the paddlewheel.

JBS and its Swift Beef Co. operations were cited for eight safety violations related to the accident, The Greeley Tribune reported on Wednesday.

“The employees at this facility deserve better than to fear for their lives and their safety when they come to work,” OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper in Denver said in a news release.

JBS said in a statement that employee “health and safety is at the core of all our decisions,” and that the company is committed to providing a safe environment at its facilities.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations, sent Monday, to comply with or contest them, or to ask to meet with Kupper.

OSHA fined JBS $15,615 in September 2020 for failing to protect its employees in Greeley from COVID-19. Six workers there died and nearly 300 were infected.