Bumble Bee Foods faces fines and jail time for the death of an employee that was tragically killed when an oven turned on with him inside as he was cleaning

Bumble Bee Foods along with two of its managers were charged this past week in Los Angeles following an investigation into the death of an employee on the job in 2012. Reports from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health show Jose Melena was doing routine maintenance on one of the company’s industrial sized 35-foot ovens at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant early in the morning on Oct. 11, 2012, when a co-worker filled the pressure cooker with 12,000 pounds of tuna and subsequently turned it on, not knowing Melena was inside. The co-worker believed that Melena was in the bathroom at the time. Supervisors were notified that Melena was missing and made an announcement, prompting the facility to search for him throughout the factory and parking lot. His body was later found inside the pressure cooker, two hours later.

Plant Operations Director Angel Rodriguez, former safety manager Saul Florez and the company itself each were charged in violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules that resulted in the death of an employee by disregarding or violating a required safety plan, keeping machinery off when it is being worked on, and also failing to have knowledge of employees in confined spaces. According to prosecutors, Rodriguez, 63, and Florez, 42, could face up to three years in prison and fines up to $250,000 if convicted of all charges. Bumble Bee faces fines adding up to $1.5 million.

-Curt Cramer (@CurtisRemarc)