John Farms’ massive meatpacking plant in Southern California on the edge of Los Angeles has been valued at more than $ 58,000 for safety violations that state officials say has exposed more than 300 workers with COVID-19 infection, including three They were taken to the hospital.
The state’s Department of Industrial Relations, known as Cal / Usha, says the violations were exposed during an investigation that took place at the Vernon plant between May and November, adding that some serious COVID-19 infections were tracked as early as February..
The owner of the plant’s company, Smithfield Foods of Virginia, said Monday that he has worked hard to ensure that employees at all of its plants remain safe from COVID-19 and will compete aggressively in the proposed $ 58,100 sanctions..
Meat-canning and poultry processing plants across the country, with employees working in close proximity to slaughtering animals for food, have been a hotspot of infection since the outbreak of the Coronavirus early this year..
In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 16,000 cases in 23 states.
CAL / USHA reported in September that it issued more than $ 200,000 in proposed fines against frozen food manufacturer Overhill Farms Inc.. And the agency it contracts for failing to protect hundreds of employees at two factories in Vernon.
770 locals from the United Food and Trade Workers Union said their complaints prompted a recent investigation with Farmer John, in which thousands of pigs are slaughtered to make sausages, sausages, bacon and other products.
“In the absence of leadership from Smithfield, we have taken on the responsibility to demand safer working conditions and to conduct an investigation from Cal / OSHA,” said Jose Guzman, farm employee John.
The union said farmer John is a recruitment contractor, CitySolutions Inc.. $ 47,000 was also issued as separate fines. CitiSolutions, whose contract workers are mentioned in Farmer John’s citations, declined to comment and Cal / Osha did not immediately clarify the details..
One of the many citations issued by Cal / Usha against farmer John said that the company failed to report three employees who were hospitalized due to the Coronavirus between February.. April 14 and 28. The agency also said that its inspection revealed that the company had « failed to consider at least 303 cases of COVID-19 disease of its employees and employees contracted with CitiStaff Solutions. ».
Keira Lombardo, Managing Director of Smithfield Foods, said the company fully complied with the Cal / Usha investigation, submitting more than 4,000 documents.. She added that it was possible to bring many infections from outside the plant, noting that in the early stages of the epidemic there was no clear guidance on contact tracing or how to protect people.. .
« To date, we have invested more than $ 650 million in comprehensive workplace protection measures, including masks, face shields, remodeled workstations, glass barriers, and strong social distancing mandates, ».
Coronavirus, California Department of Occupational Safety and Health, California, Farmer John, Smithfield Food
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