16-Year-Old Sanitation Worker Dies in Accident at Mar-Jac Poultry Hattiesburg Plant

July 18, 2023
Details on the cause of death of the teenager and the circumstances surrounding the accident are still pending.

A teenaged employee at the Mar-Jac Poultry Hattiesburg, Miss., processing plant, died while performing sanitation duties last week, according to local news reports citing a release distributed by the company — turning the spotlight even brighter on the dangers of working in sanitation in the meat and poultry industry, as well as the practice of using younger employees to do potentially dangerous tasks.

The boy, 16, died of injuries sustained in the accident around 8 p.m. on July 14, and an investigation is ongoing as to the circumstances that led to the incident and the boy’s death. Family members of the boy had been notified, but his name is being withheld due to his age and the investigation. The cause of death has not yet been determined or announced, pending an autopsy.

Mar-Jac Poultry is cooperating with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the investigation. This is reportedly the third fatality at the plant in the past three years, with two male employees having been killed in separate accidents six months apart in 2020.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.