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U.S. Department of Labor Cites Hattiesburg Poultry Facility

Second fatal incident in just over 2 years for Mar-Jac Poultry MS LLC

For the second time in just over two years, a poultry processing plant in Hattiesburg 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 found.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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.

OSHA cited Mar-Jac Poultry with 14 serious and three other-than-serious violations after finding the company failed to:

  • Ensure energy control procedures were used to prevent the unexpected start-up of machines while employees performed sanitation, exposing workers to caught-in hazards;
  • Ensure employees used lockout/tagout devices on machinery when performing cleaning;
  • Ensure an energy control procedure included specific steps for blocking and securing portions of the machinery while workers performed cleaning;
  • Failed to ensure the machinery retained guarding to prevent employees from entering danger zones while machinery was in operation;
  • Cover open holes in 480-volt electrical cabinets, exposing workers to electrical hazards; and
  • Prevent workers from using portable ladders incorrectly to gain access to elevated work surfaces, exposing workers to fall hazards.

OSHA has proposed $212,646 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute.

The agency previously cited Mar-Jac Poultry after a May 31, 2021, incident in which an employee’s shirt sleeve was caught in a machine and they were pulled in, pinning their body against the support and the machine’s carousel, resulting in fatal injuries.

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