Mississippi Company Fined for Not Reporting Outbreak


Spring Miller, Attorney
Cynthia Martinez, Communications Director

JACKSON, Mississippi – June 17, 2009 – The  Mississippi office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Simmons Farm-Raised Catfish for its failure to report an outbreak of a drug-resistant staph infection (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) among its employees in 2006 and 2007.

OSHA launched an investigation of the Yazoo City company in response to a complaint filed by two guestworkers who became ill while working for the company.   The workers are represented by Southern Migrant Legal Services (SMLS), a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and by Mississippi attorney Brent McBride.

According to SMLS attorney Spring Miller, OSHA recordkeeping requirements help ensure that workers and public authorities know about workplace hazards and can take appropriate steps to address them.

“Workers deserve to know what risks they face in the workplace so they can protect themselves effectively,” Miller said.

The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor is still investigating a wage complaint filed against Simmons by former guestworkers last year.

SMLS is a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) based in Nashville, Tennessee that provides free employment-related legal services to migrant farmworkers who work in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality legal assistance and related educational services.  For more information on Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. and this story visit http://www.trla.org.


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