A Hattiesburg, Mississippi, poultry processing plant's disregard for safety standards led to a 16-year-old worker’s death, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Tuesday.
According to OSHA, the teen was sucked into the machinery while performing a deep clean of the deboning area at the Mar-Jac Poultry MS, LLC plant. Officials said "Lockout/tagout procedures were not utilized to disconnect power to the machine and a lockout/tagout device was not used to prevent the machine from unintentionally starting during the cleaning."
The incident occurred on July 14, 2023. OSHA said this is the second fatal incident to occur at the plant in a two-year period. An employee was also killed in May 2021 after their shirt sleeve was caught in a machine and they were pulled in.
OSHA fined Mar-Jac Poultry MS, LLC over $200,000 for the latest incident.
“Mar-Jac Poultry is aware of how dangerous the machinery they use can be when safety standards are not in place to prevent serious injury and death. The company’s inaction has directly led to this terrible tragedy, which has left so many to mourn this child’s preventable death,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer.
Scripps News has reached out to Mar-Jac Poultry for its reaction.
OSHA added that the company faces 14 serious and three other-than-serious violations. Officials added that the Department of Labor is also investigating its child labor practices.
“Following the fatal incident in May 2021 Mar-Jac Poultry should have enforced strict safety standards in its facility,” Petermeyer added. “Only about two years later nothing has changed and the company continues to treat employee safety as an afterthought, putting its workers at risk. No worker should be placed in a preventable, dangerous situation, let alone a child.”
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