JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - There have been several fatal accidents involving Omega Protein workers. In May 2011, three men were killed aboard an Omega Protein fishing boat called the Sandy Point when it collided with a 660-foot container ship in the Gulfport ship channel.
The following year, Christopher Hebert was killed when he was caught in a rotating screw conveyor at Omega Protein's Moss Point plant. Christopher was just 24 when he lost his life. His family is currently suing Omega Protein, saying the accident could have been avoided.
"My family believes Chris would have made Omega Protein a much safer place to work at, if Omega Protein had not killed him," Heather Smith said.
A homemade wooden cross bearing the name Christopher Hebert now sits feet away from his old job at the Moss Point plant where he was killed two years ago. It's a heartbreaking memory for his sister, Heather Smith.
"You have no idea how it feels to miss someone that should not have been taken," Smith said.
A federal investigation following Christopher's accident found his death was avoidable. The Hebert family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company; David Harris Jr. is one of the lead attorneys in this case.
"Corporations have to spend money to cure unsafe working conditions. We believe Omega Protein, by and through its employees, didn't want to spend the money to cure those unsafe working conditions, and as a result of that, they took intentional action to harm Christopher," Harris said.
While the investigation continues on what caused Monday's deadly accident, Smith is praying for the victims and their families. She also hopes Omega Protein will do what it can to improve safety at the plant, so another life won't be lost.
"There is nothing else I can say to the family. My prayers are with them," Smith said. "It is a very difficult thing and it is a very difficult thing to go through in your life to have someone taken away from you so soon."
The Hebert family's lawsuit is set to go to trial in October in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.
Omega Protein spokesperson Ben Landry said Omega Protein does not provide comment on ongoing litigation.