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HomeNewsOSHA Blames Mississippi Slaughterhouse for the Death of Migrant Teen Sucked Into...

OSHA Blames Mississippi Slaughterhouse for the Death of Migrant Teen Sucked Into Machinery 

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Underaged worker Duvan Pérez dies in Mississippi slaughterhouse
Source: Newslink7.com/X

16-year-old migrant worker Mar-Jac Poultry, Duvan Pérez, has been confirmed dead following a horrid accident at the slaughterhouse. Sources say that he was sanitizing the deboning area of the Hattiesburg plant on July 14, 2023, when the machine caught his hand and drew his body in.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said that the Mississippi slaughterhouse should take responsibility for the teen’s death.

“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 Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA Regional Administrator. According to OSHA officials, “procedures were not utilized to disconnect power to the machine,” even though a Mar-Jac manager was supervising the area before and during the unfortunate accident. 

Sadly, Mar-Jac Poultry is not new to work accidents bordering on negligence and poor work practices. According to OSHA, Mar-Jac Poultry, based in Georgia, has been cited for 14 serious violations in the past. Furthermore, Pérez is only one of the two workers who has died under similar circumstances at the plant in two years. 

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“These are incredibly serious alleged safety violations that cost a child’s life — a child who was not supposed to even be exposed to this dangerous workplace. … The poor safety track record of this plant and the company is alarming — workers should not get killed in a poultry plant,” said Debbie Berkowitz, a workplace safety expert. 

Mar-Jac Poultry hasn’t responded to these allegations. However, in an October statement through its attorney Larry Stine, the company said, “Mar-Jac thoroughly investigated the accident and has not found any errors committed by its safety or human resources employees. It has learned many lessons from the accident and has taken aggressive steps to prevent the occurrence of another accident or hiring underage workers.”

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Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A gets its chicken supplies from Mar-Jac. A spokesperson from the company said that they are conducting their investigation into the matter. They also will not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that all their suppliers maintain high safety standards.

OSHA has launched two investigations into the teen’s death. The first one focuses on the circumstances leading to his death. The second one actively investigates how someone hired a minor to do such dangerous work. They have not yet concluded the latter.

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Since many of the jobs in slaughterhouses are high-risk, the federal government has banned them from hiring under-18s. However, NBC News discovered that Pérez was hired with the false identity of a man in his thirties. 

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Stine was asked if Mar-Jac was shocked to discover Pérez’s actual age, and his response was, “Yes, they were surprised, that I can tell you. They were surprised and somewhat horrified.” “I think the publicity of having something like that is far worse than the penalty. Nobody wants to be seen to have been hiring a child,” he said in response to a question about how potential files will affect the company’s business.

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