Ionia meat processor sentenced after underage employee loses hand in meat grinder

The teen lost their hand after being illegally employed, authorities said.
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 3:27 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -An Ionia County man was sentenced to pay fines after an underage employee lost his hand in a meat grinder.

Darin Wilbur, 55, was sentenced to pay $1,143 after pleading guilty to employing a minor in a dangerous profession.

The minor, a 17-year-old, lost his right hand while working for US Guys Processing in Nov. 2019.

The teen was operating a meat grinder while being supervised by Wilbur, the company’s owner. His hand was pulled into the grinder, resulting in its amputation.

The Michigan Wage and Hour Division investigated the injury after receiving a referral. The Division found that the teen was illegally employed and placed into hazardous work.

“Our labor laws were written to protect children from dangerous workplaces; however, they lack the teeth needed to properly hold bad employers accountable for violations,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel at the time of Wilbur’s plea. “This case highlights the need to strengthen these protections, as well as the consequences for violations, and I look forward to working with the legislature on this critical work to protect the state’s youth.”

In a statement, Nessel called for the state legislature to re-evaluate fines for employing minors without permits, as well as current state regulations surrounding minors working in hazardous conditions, which is currently a misdemeanor.

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