Bumble Bee Foods charged with felony related to employee death

Tragic employee death highlights need for safety rules and stiffer penalties.

CNN reports that Bumble Bee Foods and two of its employees face felony criminal charges related to the 2012 death of a California employee in a pressure cooker. It has been alleged that a director of plant operations and its former safety manager willfully violated safety rules.

Jose Melena, 62, was killed while working in an oven used to sterilize cans of tuna. Coworkers were unaware that he was in the oven when they closed the door and turned it on.

The two Bumble Bee employees face a maximum sentence of three years in state prison and/or a $250,000 fine if convicted. Bumble Bee Foods faces a maximum fine of $1.5 million.

Our 2 cents

Many workplace accidents can be avoided with better safety training and rules. It’s hard not to be angry when an employee death could have been avoided. We have already seen five workplace fatalities this year in Michigan.

We encourage employees to contact MIOSHA with any complaints. This process allows a person to request withholding of their name from the employer. Information about the MIOSHA complaint process can be found on their website.

It is also possible to sue an employer for an intentional tort under extreme circumstances. This allows a family to collect damages in excess of workers’ compensation.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

The value of a life cannot be measured in dollars

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