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Smithfield Foods Pays OSHA Penalty

11/21/2021

Following an inspection of Smithfield Foods Plants and specifically the Sioux Falls, SD facility, the company was fined $13,500 under then prevailing regulations relating to COVID. In the absence of an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), deliberately delayed by OSHA under the previous Administration, the Company was fined the maximum allowed for contravention of the General Duty Clause. In contrast the California State OSHA fined Smithfield Foods $58,000 for inadequate protection of employees at the Vernon, CA. Farmer John plant where 300 cases were diagnosed.

 

In August 2020 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited deficiencies in the physical design of facilities and plant layout as contributing to 900 cases of COVID out of 3,600 employees plus additional contact cases that occurred during March and April of 2020.  Of the affected employees, 48 were hospitalized with two fatalities.

 

As part of the agreement with OSHA, Smithfield Packaged Meat Corp. will develop an infectious disease preparedness plan for all 46 facilities in 32 states. It is a matter of record that competitors of Smithfield Foods including Tyson Foods were proactive in using available resources and knowledge to implement protective measures prior to the availability of a vaccine.  In contrast then CEO of Smithfield Foods, Ken Sullivan criticized both a U.S. Senate investigation and the media, claiming mischaracterization of the company and its values. Currently Smithfield Foods, a subsidiary of the WH Group of China, is spinning the slap-on-the-wrist fine and mandated agreement to belatedly introduce protective measures as a vindication of company policy in response to COVID.


 
Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane