LANSING, MICH. – A man in Michigan was sentenced on Aug. 8 after pleading guilty last month to employing a 17-year-old worker who lost a hand while working at US Guys Processing.

Information from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that Darin Wilbur, 55, who owned the facility, would pay $1,143 in fines and costs related to the incident.

In November 2019, a 17-year-old worker lost his right hand in a meat grinder while working at the plant. According to Nessel, the employee operated the meat grinder under Wilbur’s supervision.

“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 Nessel following the plea in July. “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.”

Michigan’s Wage and Hour Division received a referral regarding the injury to the minor. The agency discovered the minor was illegally employed at the facility. 

Additionally, the investigation revealed that Wilbur or the minor did not obtain a work permit required for individuals under 18 in Michigan for this position.

Nessel asked the Michigan legislature to re-evaluate the fines for employing minors without the requisite permit. She also requested an examination of the current statutes and penalties surrounding employing minors in hazardous occupations, which currently are treated as misdemeanors.