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JBS fined $175K after Colorado worker loses arm in machinery

OSHA determined that JBS hadn't properly guarded the conveyor belt, and employees didn't know to wear a plastic device that ensures smock sleeves don’t dangle

The JBS meat-packing plant in Greeley resumed operations April 24, 2020, after a brief closure due to a coronavirus outbreak. (John Frank, The Colorado Sun)

GREELEY — Meatpacking giant JBS USA has been issued five citations and fines totaling nearly $175,000 after a worker’s arm was amputated when it got stuck in a conveyer belt at the company’s beef plant in northern Colorado.

The 37-year-old worker was cleaning a conveyor belt at the Greeley plant Feb. 17 and reached for something that fell off the end of the machinery, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. His smock sleeve then became tangled in the conveyor belt’s sprockets.

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OSHA determined that JBS hadn’t properly guarded the conveyor belt, and employees didn’t know to wear a plastic device that ensures smock sleeves don’t dangle, The Greeley Tribune reported.

JBS spokesman Cameron Bruett said the company conducted a full-plant safety audit and enlisted a third-party expert to review health and safety training and protocols. OSHA didn’t respond to questions about whether JBS is contesting the citations or has paid the fines.

JBS also was fined twice Aug. 2, according to OSHA records.

The company was told to pay $27,306 after an employee was lacerated by a kicking cow and $25,746 because employees were spraying 180-degree water without proper protection.

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


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