In 2012, an employee of Bumble Bee Foods died as a result of being cooked alive in an industrial oven. Now, years later, a settlement has finally been reached in the record sum of $6 million. This makes it the largest criminal prosecution case for safety violations in a workplace involving a single victim in California.
Jose Melena was doing some maintenance work on a large industrial oven at the canned-tuna factory in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Another worker, believing Melena was on a break, filled the cooker with 12,000 pounds of tuna and turned on the machine.
When management noticed the 62-year-old employee was missing, they conducted a search across the plant and property. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) reports that Melena’s body was found two hours after. Tragically, the pressure cooker had already reached a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit.
RT reports that the settle meant will be divided up into multiple parts.
- The company will use $3 million to update any outdated tuna ovens and will bring in automated ones with video cameras, so that no worker will ever have to set foot inside the cookers again.
- Melena’s family will receive $1.5 million in restituation.
- Bumble Bee will also donate $750,000 to the Distrcit Attonrey’s Environmental Enforcement Fun for the investegation and the prosecution of OSHA criminal cases .
- Finally, an additional $750,000 will go towards combined fees, court costs and penalties.
Bumble Bee Foods will also plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of willful failure to implement and maintain an effect safety program within 18 months of complying with the terms of the settlement agreement.
The two managers in charge at the time of Melena’s death were also charged with counts of OSHA violation.