Mississippi Poultry Plant Faces $212,000 Fine Following Fatal Accident Involving Teen Employee 

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The US Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing a significant $212,646 fine for Mar-Jac Poultry in Mississippi after a tragic incident led to the death of a 16-year-old sanitation worker.

This signifies the second loss of life at the Hattiesburg plant within a span of slightly more than two years.

The unfortunate incident occurred on July 14, 2023, when the teenage contract worker, employed by Onin Staffing, was cleaning the chicken deboning machine. 

According to the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report, the worker was pulled into the rotating shaft and sprockets, leading to a fatal outcome. 

The same plant had previously been cited for unsafe working conditions in 2021 when an adult worker lost his life in a similar machinery-related accident. OSHA has levied 14 serious and three other-than-serious violations against Mar-Jac Poultry in response to the recent fatality. 

The fine, calculated based on the severity of each violation, reflects the Department’s concern about the lack of comprehensive safety procedures to disconnect power during cleaning, thus preventing unintentional machine starts.

Mississippi Safety Protocols Amidst Controversy

mississippi-poultry-plant-faces-$212,000-fine-following-fatal-accident-involving-teen-employee
The US Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing a significant $212,646 fine for Mar-Jac Poultry in Mississippi after a tragic incident led to the death of a 16-year-old sanitation worker.

Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta, expressed disappointment in Mar-Jac Poultry’s safety practices, stating, “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.”

The Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia-based Mar-Jac Poultry had earlier stated in October that it had complied with all safety protocols about the incident involving the adolescent employee. 

The company, facing accusations of neglecting safety standards, is currently under a separate child labor investigation by the DOL’s wage and hour division.

The DOL has given Mar-Jac Poultry 15 days to respond to the citation and penalties or contest the agency’s findings. 

In addition to highlighting the urgent need for tougher enforcement to guarantee responsibility in the poultry processing business, the terrible occurrence in Mississippi serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for increased safety measures in industrial settings to safeguard workers from avoidable mishaps.

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