OSHA finds Mississippi slaughterhouse responsible for death of teen who was sucked into machinery

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Mississippi slaughterhouse Who supplies the chicken Chick-fil-A is directly responsible for this The death of a 16-year-old worker Which was sucked into the equipment in July and killed within minutes, OSHA said Tuesday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, said it has charged Georgia-based Mar-Jac Poultry with 14 serious violations and proposed fines of more than $200,000.

“Mar-Jac Poultry knows how dangerous the machines it uses can be when safety standards are not applied to prevent serious injury and death. The company’s inaction directly led to this terrible tragedy, which has left many… “People are saddened by the avoidable death of this child.”

Duvan Perez, a 16-year-old worker, was cleaning the deboning area at the Hattiesburg plant when his hand got stuck and his body was pulled into the machine. OSHA officials say that while a Mar-Jac manager was supervising the area and around the area before and during the accident, “procedures were not used to disconnect power to the machine.”

Perez was the second person to die accidentally at the plant after being struck by machinery in two years.

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

In an earlier statement, Mar-Jac’s attorney, Larry Stein, told NBC News: “Mar-Jac thoroughly investigated the accident and found no errors made by safety or human resources personnel. It has learned many lessons from the accident and has taken strict steps to prevent another accident or the employment of underage workers.

Child Labor (Duvan Perez via Facebook)

Child Labor (Duvan Perez via Facebook)

A representative for Chick-fil-A, which purchases chicken from Mar-Jac, could not immediately be reached, but a company spokesperson told NBC News in October: “We are reviewing our own investigation and response procedures as we follow necessary steps to ensure all of our suppliers adhere to safety standards.” Our high efficiency.

“These are very serious alleged safety violations that cost the life of a child — a child who should not even have been exposed to this dangerous workplace,” said Debbie Berkowitz, a workplace safety expert who was an OSHA official during the Obama administration. This plant and company is alarming – workers should not be killed in a poultry plant.

After Perez’s death, the Department of Labor launched two investigations. One, conducted by OSHA, focused on how the teen died. The second study, conducted by the department’s Wage and Hour Division, looked at how a 16-year-old was hired to do the work. The second investigation is still ongoing, according to the agency.

The federal government prohibits the employment of anyone under 18 in slaughterhouses because of the dangers of the job.

Formerly NBC News mentioned That the 16-year-old was illegally employed using the false identity of a 32-year-old man.

Perez, Stein told NBC News Hired by a third party recruitment agency.

The number of children working illegally has risen across all industries, according to the Labor Department, nearly doubling since 2019. More than 800 child labor investigations are underway in 47 states across industries, according to the agency.

In September, the Department of Labour Asking the public for help In its child labor investigations, it implored current and former Mar-Jac employees to speak to investigators after finding that current employees were reluctant to speak and fearful of the consequences.

Asked if the company was surprised to learn that Perez was 16 instead of 32, Stein said: “Yes, they were surprised, I can tell you that. They were surprised and somewhat horrified.”

He was also asked if potential fines from the Department of Labor affect how the company does business. “I think the publicity that something like this exists is much worse than the punishment,” he said. “No one wants to be seen renting a child.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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