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OSHA cites Smithfield for failing to protect employees from COVID-19

 The Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., is seen Wednesday, April 8, 2020, where health officials reported more than 80 employees have confirmed cases of the coronavirus (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)
The Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., is seen Wednesday, April 8, 2020, where health officials reported more than 80 employees have confirmed cases of the coronavirus (AP Photo/Stephen Groves) (WNDU)
Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 11:39 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Smithfield in Sioux Falls for failing to protect its employees from exposure of COVID-19.

In the citation, OSHA says the company violated the general duty clause and failed to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that could cause death or serious injury. OSHA also proposed a $13,494 penalty.

“Employers must quickly implement appropriate measures to protect their workers' safety and health,” said OSHA Sioux Falls Area Director Sheila Stanley. “Employers must meet their obligations and take the necessary actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus at their worksite.”

1,294 Smithfield employees contracted COVID-19 in spring 2020, leading to the deaths of four employees.

The pork processing plant in Sioux Falls was once the country’s largest coronavirus hotbed before it closed its doors on April 12.

Smithfield resumed operations on May 7.

Smithfield has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Copyright 2020 KEVN. All rights reserved.

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