USA: Smithfield Foods fined $100,000 for failing to protect employees from Covid-19 & other violations during pandemic
"Smithfield Foods, subcontractor fined $100,000 for COVID-19 violations in California," 16 Nov 2020
Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, and a subcontractor face fines of more than $100,000 from California’s workplace safety regulator for failing to protect employees from COVID-19 and other violations during the pandemic.
The penalties increase pressure on Chinese-owned Smithfield over U.S. working conditions during the health crisis, after federal regulators hit the meatpacker and others with smaller fines...
More than 315 workers out of 1,800 at the plant contracted COVID-19 since March, with at least three people hospitalized, the union said.
Smithfield and its subcontractor, CitiStaff Solutions, failed to ensure employees used masks and had physical barriers like plexiglass between them to keep them safe, according to Cal/OSHA [, California's regulator].
The companies also failed to train employees on the risks of COVID-19, including how the virus spreads and how they could avoid infection, the regulator said...
Smithfield, owned by WH Group..., said it will appeal the citations.
The company said it provided masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment to workers during the time covered by the citations. The citations also cover a time when employers were told not to require masks, according to Smithfield.