In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, infections began spreading at the JBS USA beef processing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, the area’s largest employer with 3,500 workers. On April 3, a worried employee called federal regulators at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, complaining that despite the outbreak the plant was not practicing social distancing.
OSHA made note of the call, but closed the case without visiting the plant, agency records show. Within three weeks, coronavirus cases at the plant grew exponentially, to 237 by April 21. But OSHA didn’t conduct an inspection until May 12, in keeping with the requirement to investigate whenever a worker dies or at least three are hospitalized. OSHA records indicate that the case is open.