OSHA Cites Poultry Processor After 2nd Death in Two Years

The 16-year-old worker was cleaning the deboning area.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Georgia-based poultry processor after the facility’s poor safety standards led to a second worker death in two years.

In July 2023, a 16-year-old contract worker was cleaning the deboning area of the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Gainesville, Georgia when he was caught in the rotating shaft and sprockets. He later died from the injuries he sustained.

OSHA investigators found the facility failed to use proper lockout/tagout procedures that would have disconnected power to the machine and prevented it from unintentionally starting during the cleaning.

Most Read on IEN: 

"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 Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta.

OSHA has proposed $212,646 in penalties. The facility is also still facing an open child labor investigation.

The incident last summer follows a 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, according to OSHA.

Petermeyer added, "Following the fatal incident in May 2021 Mar-Jac Poultry should have enforced strict safety standards in its facility. Only about two years later nothing has changed and the company continues to treat employee safety as an afterthought, putting its workers at risk. No worker should be placed in a preventable, dangerous situation, let alone a child."

In a separate 2020 incident, a Mar-Jac employee died after an accident happened in the battery charging room at the chicken processing plant. Local officials attributed the fatal accident to “horse play.”

More in Video