(BrightPress.org) – Highlighting the dangers immigrants face when they attempt to work in the United States, a Mississippi poultry processing facility was slapped with a fine after the company failed to enact basic safety measures which led to the death of a 16-year-old boy working at the plant.
Duvan Tomas Perez, 16, was killed on July 14th last year after a deboning machine he was cleaning suddenly activated, pulling him into the device, and resulting in fatal injuries. Federal investigators found that the machine was not disconnected from its power supply and did not have proper failsafe equipment operating at the time of Perez’s death. The two steps were basic safety protocols that went unfollowed, despite a supervisor being present both before and during the operation.
Perez came to the U.S. at just 10 years old from Guatemala. He was in the country legally.
Mar-Jac Poultry is the company responsible for the tragic accident. His death was the second death at the plant in just under two years. An employee was killed in 2021 after a sleeve became caught in a machine resulting in the individual being pinned to the ground.
OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer suggested the company knew full well the dangers of the machinery and the vital need for safety protocols. In his report on the accident for OSHA, Petermeyer said that Mar-Jac should have been much more attentive to safety protocols after the 2021 death of another employee.
Instead, the company seems to consider employee safety “an afterthought,” according to the report. Petermeyer suggested that the strictest safety standards should have been in place and enforced by company representatives.
Mar-Jac was fined over $200,000 in penalties for the accident. They may also be in hot water for violations of Mississippi labor laws which prohibit minors from working in factory settings due to the dangerous conditions.
Mar-Jac’s website suggests they strive to provide employees with “a safe and pleasant” workplace. It doesn’t warn potential new hires that they’ve killed two employees in two years, however.
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