Tags: bumble bee | settles | worker | died | tuna | oven

Bumble Bee Settles for $6M for Worker Who Died in Tuna Oven

Image: Bumble Bee Settles for $6M for Worker Who Died in Tuna Oven
A Bumble Bee worker was cooked for two hours with 12,000 tuna in an industrial oven in 2012. (YouTube)

By    |   Thursday, 13 Aug 2015 06:32 AM

Bumble Bee Foods will pay $6 million to settle a 2012 case over a worker who died when he was trapped inside an industrial oven full of tuna at the company's California plant in Santa Fe Springs.

Bumble Bee workers had loaded 12,000 pounds of tuna into a 35-foot-long oven while Jose Melena, 62, was performing maintenance inside it, according to KABC-TV. His body was found after the two-hour process of cooking and sterilizing the tuna in which temperatures reached 270 degrees.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey charged in a statement that Bumble Bee "willfully violated" worker safety rules in the incident. The penalty is the largest known settlement in a California criminal workplace case involving one victim.

Bumble Bee must pay $3 million to replace outdated tuna ovens, along with another $1.5 million to Melena's family.

The company will have to pay the DA's environmental enforcement fund $750,000 for the investigation and another $750,000 in fines, penalties and court costs.

Bumble Bee also must install video cameras at their ovens, provide safety rules training to managers and workers and conduct safety audits of their plant equipment.

"If at that time Bumble Bee has complied with all of the aforementioned terms, the company would be allowed to plead guilty to willful failure to implement and maintain an effective safety program, a misdemeanor," said the DA's office. "The plea additionally requires the company to make a public statement conceding guilt."

"I hope it sends a message that safety rules are not a recommendation, they are a legal requirement," Hoon Chun of the DA's consumer protection division told the Los Angeles Times.

"Certainly, nothing will bring back our dad, and our mom will not have her husband back, but much can be done to ensure this terrible accident does not happen again," the family said.

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Bumble Bee Foods will pay $6 million to settle a 2012 case over a worker who died when he was trapped inside an industrial oven full of tuna at the company's California plant in Santa Fe Springs.
bumble bee, settles, worker, died, tuna, oven
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2015-32-13
Thursday, 13 Aug 2015 06:32 AM
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