Friday, September 25, 2020

Breaches of pandemic health and safety escape punishment

 The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the citation to the Iowa Premium Beef Plant in Tama, where 338 of the facility's 850 employees tested positive (40%) for Covid-19 during an April outbreak that produced one of the state's first "hot spots." 

The result was that Iowa regulators levied a $957 citation for a minor record-keeping violation by a subsidiary of one of the nation's biggest beef processing companies. The fine was originally meant to be an equally derisory twice as high. However, Iowa OSHA Administrator Russell Perry approved a settlement with the company cutting the amount in half.

The fine comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Labor Department fined JBS Foods which, with over $50 billion in annual sales, is the world's largest meat processing company—a paltry $15,615 for failing to adequately protect workers against coronavirus.

The fine also follows the revelation earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the meatpacking industry collaborated to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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