Trump administration issues first COVID-19 fine to Smithfield for failing to protect workers

The agency announced Thursday that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited pork producer Smithfield Foods for failing to protect workers from coronavirus exposure.

It proposed a fine of $ 13,494, the maximum allowed by law, on Smithfield Packaged Meat Corp in Sioux Falls, the first coronovirus-related citation from SD OSHA, which is part of the Department of Labor.

The Sioux Falls plant was the site of a coronavirus virus outbreak in April and OSHA cited a violation of the General Duty Clause for failing to provide the company with a dangerous free workplace. At least 1,294 Smithfield workers contracted coronavirus and four employees died of the virus in the spring of 2020, OSHA confirmed.

Smithfield responded on Thursday that the OSHA commendation is “completely without merit,” and that he plans to contest it. Smithfield has 15 business days to praise and comply, contest with OSHA to request an informal conference, or formally conclude.

“After an investigation that lasted several months and included a review of more than 20,000 pages of documents and 60 interviews, OSHA only under the” General Duty Clause “for conditions before and before March 23, 2020 Has issued only one singular citation. “Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance, said in a statement.

He said Smithfield took “extraordinary measures” to keep employees healthy, and immediately responded when the spike at the Sioux Falls plant occurred, [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC, South Dakota Department of Health, [U.S. Department of Agriculture] USDA and many others. ”

The guidance of OSHA states that companies should take proactive steps to protect workers, including eliminating social disturbances, covering the face, and installing physical barriers. Despite months of calls from unions, Democrats and labor advocates, OSHA has refused to impose a nationwide COVID-19 work safety standard through an emergency temporary standard.

The Sioux Falls plant, which accounts for up to 5 percent of US pork production, temporarily closed in April due to the outbreak. Smithfield was also accused of failing to protect workers at a Missouri plant during the epidemic.

Sen Elizabeth WarrenDocuments by Elizabeth Varencourt show that the Postal Service removed 711 mail-sorting machines this year. Health care: Trump privately called coronovirus ‘fatal’, while publicly comparing it to the flu. Health officials vow to keep politics out of the vaccine process. Senate report found that mail delays have slowed prescription deliveries. Book says Trump breaks on generals, informs Woodward about secret weapon system in Iraq America removed thousands of soldiers (D-Mass.) Responded to the fine on Thursday, stating that it is not enough and that Smithfield’s CEO should be held accountable.

“It’s not enough to recover from the snack, months-late and if OSHA was serious about doing its job, it would aggressively hold giant meatpackers accountable and issue an emergency temporary standard with enforcement health and safety Will intensify its investigation and enforcement activity. Security, “she said.

Warren and Sen. Corey BookerCory Anthony Booker. Brave new post-Covid Convention World NJ Governor proposes funding gap to close 000 ‘baby bonds’ for children Biden-Harris ad ‘Republic Convention’ calls for ‘Heel America’ (DN.J.) in an investigation by Smithfield and other top meatpacking companies in June alleging that they exploited workers, among other issues.

In a public response, Smithfield CEO said, “The accusation that we are not ready to implement worker safety is wrong and demonstrative.”

“Lying to Congress is a federal crime,” Warren said on Thursday. “If Smithfield’s CEO knew of OSHA’s findings at the same time that he demonstrably misrepresented allegations of worker misconduct, he should be held accountable.”