Lee Pearl Duff
Ms. Duff’s son Ronnie was killed on September 9, 2012, while working at the Southern Hens chicken processing plant in Moselle, Mississippi. He was pulled into an unguarded screw auger with no emergency shut-off equipment accessible to his coworkers who were present, and he bled to death from his wounds. When OSHA investigated the plant after his death, it found 43 safety and health violations. Mr. Duff’s death represents the worst case outcome when the poultry and meat processing industries are left largely unregulated, and, tragically, is not a unique case.
In Ms. Duff's own words:
"My name is Lee Pearl Duff and I would like to thank the Commission for considering this important matter of human rights violations of workers in the poultry plants in the United States.
I am here on behalf of my son Ronnie Duff Sr.
Ronnie was killed on September 9, 2012, while working at the Southern Hens chicken processing plant in Moselle, Mississippi. He was pulled into an unguarded screw auger with no emergency shut-off equipment accessible to his coworkers who were present.
His left side was completely gone, the leg from the hip and the right side was completely crushed.
If they could have shut the machine off, I might have a son without any legs, but since they couldn’t shut it off, I don’t have a son.
When OSHA investigated the plant after his death, it found 43 safety and health violations. 37 of them were serious. My son and his coworkers were forced to work in an unsafe poultry plant and it cost him his life.
It appears that poultry manufacturers within the State of Mississippi do not have or enforce safeguards for human life, but enforce all kinds of rules about the humane treatment for the birds these workers process. On that day, not one worker could help my son because they did not have the knowledge to institute an emergency shutdown. I believe that everyone working with or around machinery that can cause death, take a limb or inflict serious injury must be able to stop it.
Ronnie’s death represents the worst case outcome when the poultry and meat processing industries are left largely unregulated. Tragically, Ronnie's is not a unique case.
No family should suffer the anguish that is now in my heart over the preventable loss of my son.
He was a good man, just trying to take care of his family and build a life. He was only 39 years old, and he leaves behind three children of his own. Now his life is gone because someone didn't consider him to be even as important as a bird.
Since my son's tragic death, it has been my number one goal to do everything within my power to prevent this devastating and senseless loss from happening to another family. In the moment that my son was caught up in this machine, he knew in an instant that he was going to die and he endured a torturous death. The mental picture of my son's last moments on this earth will haunt me until I go to my own grave.
The condition in these plants for years has caused injuries to thousands of workers. So I come to you with a heavy heart asking that you consider my request along with the others that are being made on behalf of thousands of workers and have been injured in the poultry industry.
I have also brought today the News Release and Autopsy Report of my son’s death.
Any aid you can provide me with, to ensure that some good comes from my son's untimely and tragic death, would be eternally appreciated."