Dept. of Labor fines sanitation company for employing kids to clean sharp equipment with chemicals

A sanitation company paid the Department of Labor a $1.5 million fine this week after it was discovered the company employed children aged 13 to 17 to do dangerous jobs in meat packing plants across eight states.

The shocking DoL investigation revealed that Packers Sanitation Services hired at least 102 children to work overnight shifts in 13 meat packing plants across eight states cleaning extremely sharp equipment. The investigation found the children were charged with cleaning head splitters, saws, and other sharp equipment used for butchering with caustic chemicals that, on more than one occasion, had burned a minor employee. 

The investigation found meat packing plants in Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas utilized child labor through Packers Sanitation Services. Packers paid the fine this week and released a statement maintaining their zero-tolerance policy against child labor. “We are pleased to have finalized this settlement figure as part of our previously announced December resolution with the Department of Labor that ends their inquiry,” said company spokesperson Gina Swenson. “We have been crystal clear from the start: Our company has a zero-tolerance policy against employing anyone under the age of 18 and fully shares the [Labor Department’s] objective of ensuring full compliance at all locations.”

Department of Labor official Jessica Looman said in a statement, “These children should never have been employed in meat packing plants and this can only happen when employers do not take responsibility to prevent child labor violations from occurring in the first place.”




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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