July 19, 2023
A 16-year-old employee died in an accident at a chicken processing plant in Hattiesburg. MS.
The teen died at Mar-Jac Poultry in Hattiesburg, MS, about 100 miles southeast of Jackson, deputy coroner Lisa Klem at the Forrest County Coroner’s Office told CNN
“On the evening of Friday, July 14 an employee conducting sanitation operations at Mar-Jac Poultry MS LLC’s Hattiesburg, Mississippi poultry processing plant died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident,” the company said. “We deeply regret the loss and send our most sincere condolences to his family and friends.”
Forrest County Deputy Coroner Lisa Klem identified the employee as a 16-year-old Hispanic male from Hattiesburg.
The cause of death is pending an autopsy.
In a company press release, complex manager Joe Colee expressed condolences on behalf of Mar-Jac Poultry to the teen’s family and friends.
“Our employees are our most valuable asset, and safety is our No. 1 priority,” Colee said. “We strive daily to work as safely as possible and are truly devastated whenever an employee is injured.”
By federal law, minors are barred from working at meat and poultry plants due to the Department of Labor declaring the types of jobs as “particularly hazardous” or “detrimental to their health or well-being.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act specifically lists sanitation of meat and poultry plant equipment as a hazardous activity off limits to underage workers.
It is unknown at this time how the teen obtained the job at Mar-Jac Poultry.
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