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Mississippi slaughterhouse is directly responsible for death of migrant teen who was sucked into machinery, OSHA says

By 37ci3 Jan16,2024

Mississippi slaughterhouse Whoever supplies the chicken to Chick-fil-A is directly to blame Death of a 16-year-old worker The Occupational Health and Safety Administration said Tuesday that he was killed within minutes of being blown into the equipment in July.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA agency said it cited Georgia-based Mar-Jac Poultry for 14 serious violations and proposed fines of more than $200,000.

“Mar-Jac Poultry knows 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 directly led to this horrific tragedy, which has caused many to mourn the preventable death of this child,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer.

Duvan Perez, a 16-year-old worker, was grabbed while cleaning the deboning area of ​​the Hattiesburg plant and his body was dragged into a car. OSHA officials say that while the Mar-Jac manager was monitoring the area and surrounding area before and during the accident, “procedures were not used to shut off power to the machine.”

Peres became the second person to die accidentally at the plant in two years after being hit by a machine.

Mar-Jac Poultry did not immediately comment, but in an October statement, the company said all safety procedures were being followed.

In an earlier statement, Mar-Jac’s attorney Larry Stine told NBC News, “Mar-Jac has thoroughly investigated the accident and found no wrongdoing by safety or human resources personnel. He has learned many lessons from the accident and has taken aggressive steps to prevent another accident from happening or to employ young workers.”

child labor
Duvan Perez, 16, of Guatemala, died while cleaning equipment at the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.Duvan Perez via Facebook

A representative for Chick-fil-A, which buys chicken from Mar-Jac, could not immediately be reached, but a company spokeswoman told NBC News in October: “We are reviewing our procedures for investigation and response as we follow the necessary steps. effectively keeping all our suppliers to our high safety standards.

Workplace safety expert Debbie Berkowitz, who was an OSHA official during the Obama administration, said, “These are incredibly serious safety violations that cost the life of a child — a child who should not even be exposed to this dangerous workplace. … The poor safety practices of this plant and company are alarming – workers should not be killed in a poultry factory.”

Two Labor Department investigations have been launched since Perez’s death. One conducted by OSHA focused on how the teenager died. The second investigated how a 16-year-old was hired by the department’s Wage and Hour Division to do the job. According to the agency, the second investigation is ongoing.

The federal government prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from being employed in slaughterhouses because of the dangers of the work.

Earlier on NBC News informed He said that the 16-year-old youth was illegally employed using the false identity of the 32-year-old youth.

Stine told NBC News Perez Recruited by a third-party staffing agency.

According to the Department of Labor, the number of children working illegally in all industries has almost doubled since 2019. According to the agency, more than 800 child labor investigations are ongoing across industries in 47 states.

Department of Labor in September asked the people for help in the child labor investigation, reached out to current and former Mar-Jac employees, urging them to talk to investigators after finding current employees who did not want to talk and were afraid of the consequences.

When asked if the company was surprised to learn Perez was 16 instead of 32, Stine said, “Yeah, they were surprised I can tell you. They were surprised and a little horrified.”

He also questioned whether potential Labor Department fines would affect a company’s business. He said: “I think the publicity that something like this happened is worse than the punishment. “No one wants to see child labor.”

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By 37ci3

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