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JBS cited by OSHA following worker's death in March

JBS meat processing plant in Greeley
Posted at 7:55 AM, Sep 30, 2021

GREELEY, Colo. — JBS Foods Inc. in Greeley has once again been cited for safety failures after a worker died at Swift Beef's Colorado facility on March 27.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the company for eight serious violations related to the unsafe lifting process and hazardous chemical and training violations.

JBS Foods Inc., headquartered in Greeley, is one of the largest meat and pork suppliers in the United States.

It faces $58,709 in proposed penalties.

This most recent citation came in the wake of a worker — identified as Jonathan Bryan Duerst, 55, of Greeley — who died while installing a paddlewheel in late March. OSHA investigators responded to the incident and said they determined the following: "JBS failed to adequately secure a paddlewheel being installed to churn chemicals used in processing animal hides. The paddlewheel along with the trolley and hoist used to lift it fell. An employee fell into an oval vat which contained the chemicals."

Ted Herrera, a spokesperson for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 1 union, told Denver7 in March that Duerst hit his head on a piece of equipment and was knocked into a pool of water at the plant.

Before this fatality, a JBS worker suffered an arm amputation after he was pulled into a conveyor belt, a worker suffered laceration injuries while removing a hide, and a third worker was exposed to a thermal burn hazard, according to OSHA. JBS was cited for 11 serious violations as a result of these incidents.

“Injuries are all too common for workers in the meat processing industry, but most are preventable when required safety and health regulations are followed,” said OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper in Denver. “At the height of the pandemic, food processing industry workers helped feed our nation and keep our economy moving. The employees at this facility deserve better than to fear for their lives and their safety when they come to work.”

The company has 15 business days to comply with the findings, contest them, or discuss the matter with OSHA’s area director.

Click here to read the 20-page citation.