SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, which in April became the top coronavirus hotspot in America, has been fined by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a fine of $13,494 to the Smithfield Packaged Meats Corporation. The inspection date is listed April 20 to Sept. 2. The fine is for “one general duty clause for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm.”
More than 1000 positive cases were tied to Smithfield employees (910) and close contacts of Smithfield employees (210). Two Smithfield employees — Craig Franken and Agustin Rodriquez — died from the virus in April. OSHA is citing four total deaths related to Smithfield.
OSHA is also citing at least 1,294 Smithfield workers have contracted coronavirus.
“Employers must quickly implement appropriate measures to protect their workers’ safety and health,” OSHA Sioux Falls Area Director Sheila Stanley said in a news release. “Employers must meet their obligations and take the necessary actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus at their worksite.”
According to a CDC report, on March 24th, the South Dakota Health Department was notified of a case of coronavirus in an employee at the meatpacking plant. The plant was closed from April 13 to May 7.
Smithfield Foods has 15 days to pay or contest the penalty.