U.S. Faults Mississippi Poultry Plant in Death of 16-Year-Old

A Mississippi poultry plant’s disregard of safety policies was directly to blame for the death of a 16-year-old boy who was fatally injured in July after being pulled into a machine there, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Monday.

Mar-Jac Poultry, which operates the Mississippi plant, was cited with 17 violations after investigators found that the plant’s failure to follow safety protocols had led to the teenager’s fatal injuries, OSHA said in a statement on Tuesday, noting that it had proposed to fine the poultry company more than $200,000.

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

Although OSHA did not release the name of the victim, the teenager was previously identified by the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity, a nonprofit organization that supports migrants in Mississippi, as Duvan Tomas Pérez, who immigrated to the United States from Guatemala about six to seven years ago.

Duvan Tomas Pérez, 16, died at the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Mississippi last year.

OSHA said that federal investigators found that, even though there was a supervisor in the area before and during the fatal episode, power to the machine had not been disconnected, and that the plant had not used a device that prevents the machine from accidentally turning on during cleaning.

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