US blames malfunction at Mississippi poultry plant in death of 16-year-old boy

US blames malfunction at Mississippi poultry plant in death of 16-year-old boy

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Monday that a Mississippi poultry plant’s disregard for safety policies is directly responsible for the death of a 16-year-old boy who was fatally injured after being pulled into a machine in July.

Mar-Jack Poultry, which operates the Mississippi plant, was charged with 17 violations after investigators found that the plant’s failure to follow safety protocols led to the teen’s fatal injuries, OSHA said in a statement Tuesday. Given that he proposed imposing a fine. Poultry company over $200,000.

The 16-year-old boy was cleaning a machine in the deboning area of ​​the Mar-Jack poultry plant in Hattiesburg, Miss., on July 14 last year when he became trapped in the machine’s rotating shaft and was pulled into it, OSHA said.

Although OSHA has not released the name of the victim, the teen was previously identified as Duvan Tomas Perez by the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity, a nonprofit organization that supports immigrants in Mississippi, about six years ago. Immigrated to the United States from Guatemala. seven years ago.

Duwan Tomas Perez, 16, died last year at a Mar-Jack poultry plant in Mississippi.

OSHA said federal investigators found that, despite having a supervisor in the area before and during the fatal incident, power to the machine was not cut off, and the plant did not use a device that would prevent the machine from being accidentally turned on. Prevents during cleaning.

According to the Labor Department, minors cannot clean meat-processing machines, such as the one in which the teen died, because federal regulators have deemed the work too dangerous.

“Mar-Jack Poultry knows how dangerous the machinery they use can be when safety standards are not in place to prevent serious injury and death,” Atlanta-based OSHA Administrator Kurt Petermeyer said in a statement Tuesday. Can.”

“The company’s inaction directly caused this terrible tragedy, leaving many people to mourn the preventable death of this child,” Mr Petermeyer said.

Mar-Jack Poultry did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The company has 15 business days to comply with the citations and proposed fines, request to meet with OSHA officials, or contest the investigation’s findings.

OSHA said the 16-year-old was contracted to work at the facility by Alabama-based company Onin Staffing, which did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

This comes amid an ongoing child labor investigation into Mar-Jack Poultry by the Department of Labor, according to OSHA, and following an episode at one of the same plants in 2021, when a worker died after being grabbed by his shirtsleeve and pulled into a machine , then these quotes came. ,

“Only nearly two years later, nothing has changed and the company is putting its employees at risk by treating employee safety as an afterthought,” Mr. Petermeyer said. “No worker should be placed in a preventable, dangerous situation, let alone a child.”

Mar-Jack Poultry, based in Gainesville, Ga. Located in the U.S., it has plants in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. The company raises live birds to produce chicken which is sold throughout the country.

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