Federal investigators cite Mar-Jac plant in Miss. after 16-year-old worker is killed

For the second time in just over two years, a poultry processing plant in Hattiesburg, Miss., operated by Gainesville-based Mar-Jac Poultry, has disregarded safety standards that have led to a worker’s death, this time a 16-year-old sanitation worker who was pulled into a machine, federal safety investigators say their investigation shows.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that on July 14, 2023, a contract worker employed by Onin Staffing, LLC was performing a deep clean of the deboning area at the Mar-Jac Poultry MS, LLC plant. While sanitizing the still-energized machine, the teen was caught in the rotating shaft and sprockets and pulled in, sustaining fatal injuries. Investigators found that – despite a manager’s supervision in and around the area prior to and during the fatal incident – lockout/tagout procedures were not utilized to disconnect power to the machine and a lockout/tagout device was not used to prevent the machine from unintentionally starting during the cleaning.

“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 OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta.

OSHA cited Mar-Jac Poultry with 14 serious and three other-than-serious violations.

Click here to see the list of those violations and other information on the OSHA report:

US Department of Labor cites Hattiesburg poultry facility after 16-year-old worker pulled into machine, suffers fatal injuries | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

Mar-Jac officials have not responded to a request for comment on the OSHA report.