An 16-year-old died while working at a poultry plant in Mississippi

A 16-year-old worker died at a Mississippi poultry plant, marking the third accidental death at the facility in less than three years.

The incident: Duvan Robert Tomas Perez, 16, “became entangled” in a machine he was cleaning at the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Hattiesburg.
* Perez and his family are indigenous Guatemalans who immigrated approximately six years ago.
* Mar-Jac Poultry said that an investigation has been launched with the cooperation of the company and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Background: This is the third death at the Mar-Jac plant in less than three years.
* In December 2020, a staff member died as a result of “horse play,” resulting in an open OSHA case.
* 28-year-old Bobby Butler died in an accident involving heavy machinery in May 2021.

Legal Perspective: Perez was too young to legally work at the plant according to the Labor Department, as workers must be at least 18 to work in meatpacking facilities due to the inherent dangers.
* Mar-Jac acknowledged in its statement that the employee was underage and should not have been hired.
* The company is now conducting a thorough audit with staffing companies used to hire employees to prevent such incidents in the future.

Advocacy: The Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (IAJE) called for a statewide investigation to put an end to child labor and hazardous working conditions.
* IAJE spokesperson Jess Manrriquez highlighted deplorable working conditions and widespread child labor at poultry plants that need investigation.

View original article on NPR

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