▶ Watch Video: Child labor violations up 283% since 2015

A 16-year-old boy died on Friday while operating equipment at a poultry plant in Mississippi, officials said. 

The incident happened at the Mar-Jac Poultry processing plant in Hattiesburg, a city located about 90 miles southeast of Jackson. Hattiesburg is in Forrest County.

Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict confirmed preliminary details about the incident to CBS News on Wednesday morning, including the boy’s age and the general circumstances surrounding his death. Benedict did not identify the teenager. He said a definitive cause of death would be determined by a pathologist after evaluating results of an autopsy, which he believed was performed on Tuesday. The death was likely trauma-related, Benedict added. An official report is expected within several days.

Guatemalan media have identified the teenager as Duvan Pérez, and said he moved to Mississippi from Huispache, in Guatemala, as NBC affiliate WDAM reported.

Mar-Jac Poultry is a poultry production company headquartered in Gainesville, Georgia, its website states. The plant in Hattiesburg handles poultry processing and poultry slaughter, according to the U.S. Food and Inspection Service, which notes that the plant received its mandatory federal inspection grant in April 2022.

The teenager who died last week was a sanitation employee at the plant, Mar-Jac Poultry said in a news release obtained by CBS News. He died from injuries sustained in an accident while conducting sanitation operations on Friday evening, according to the company. 

“We deeply regret the loss and send our most sincere condolences to his family and friends,” Mar-Jac Poultry said in the release. It included a statement from Joe Colee, the complex manager, which read: “Our employees are our most valuable asset and safety is our number one priority. We strive daily to work as safely as possible and are truly devastated whenever an employee is injured.”

Mar-Jac Poultry said it is cooperating with an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration into the boy’s death and “any issues identified in the investigation will be corrected immediately.”

“Mar-Jac Poultry MS LLC has a comprehensive safety program and conducts extensive and regular training to ensure safe working conditions for all employees,” the company said. “Our prayers go out to the employee’s family, friends, and co-workers.”

Anyone younger than 18 is banned from working at slaughtering and meat packing plants, and from operating or cleaning any power-driven machinery related to that field, under federal child labor laws that classify those kinds of jobs as too hazardous for minors. The laws prohibit minors from operating “power-driven meat processing machines, such as meat slicers, saws and meat choppers, wherever used (including restaurants and delicatessens),” and from “cleaning such equipment, including the hand-washing of the disassembled machine parts,” according to a fact sheet issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

“This ban also includes the use of this machinery on items other than meat, such as cheese and vegetables,” the fact sheet says, adding that the ban also applies to “most jobs in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, rendering, and packing establishments.”

Child labor violations in the U.S. are up 283% since 2015, according to a recent report by the Department of Labor. Those findings came as more than a dozen legislatures passed laws to loosen child labor restrictions in their states. U.S. states passed laws to loosen 

Authorities in Forrest County told CBS News that the Hattiesburg Police Department responded to the incident at Mar-Jac Poultry on Friday. CBS News contacted the police department and OSHA for more information but has not yet received replies.