Bumble Bee Foods charged with felony related to employee death

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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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Author Bio Jeffrey Kaufman

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Jeffrey E. Kaufman
Michigan Workers Comp Attorney

Jeffrey E. Kaufman has extensive experience in workers compensation cases and has recovered millions of dollars in benefits for his clients. He believes all injured workers deserve to be on equal footing with insurance companies and employers, and fights tenaciously so their rights are secured and protected.


“Jeff also helped me with getting my Blue Cross bills paid. I would absolutely recommend him and the whole firm. Jeff and the firm did everything they were supposed to do for me and my case.”
Ricardo Perfetto

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Injured? It’s Time to Get Some Answers

Don’t let the insurance adjuster push you around. Request your free consultation today.

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This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Our attorneys post regularly about common issues related to workers’ comp, including common injuries, settlement calculations, laws, and more.

Our workers’ compensation and Social Security disability lawyers always put your needs first. Get to know your legal team.