Bumble Bee to pay record $6 million to settle criminal prosecution

Record settlement in criminal prosecution is as a warning to employers who disregard employee safety.

We previously blogged about felony charges against Bumble Bee Foods and two of its employees related to the 2012 death of Jose Melena. He was killed when trapped in an oven used to sterilize cans of tuna. It was alleged that director of plant operations and its former safety manager willfully violated safety rules.

CNN reports that a record settlement has now been reached in the Bumble Bee criminal prosecution. The company will have to spend $3 million to replace ovens. It will also pay $1.5 million in restitution to Melena’s family. The other $1.5 million will be fines and penalties.

Our 2 cents

Many workplace accidents can be avoided with better safety and training procedures. It’s hard not to be angry when an employee death could have been prevented.

Willful safety violations are even worse and employers must be held accountable for their bad actions. The threat of paying workers’ compensation benefits is simply not enough.

Michigan has seen very few criminal prosecutions in the last several years. We need more enforcement and stiffer penalties.

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

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:

Attorney General Files Felony Charges Against Employer

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