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Friday, October 19, 2012

California Tuna Plant Likely to Face Charges on Worker Cooked to Death in Oven

Industrial worker
Following the death of a male worker who was accidentally cooked in an oven inside a tuna plant in California, authorities are currently trying to determine whether the company could be held liable for a worker’s compensation claim that could possibly be raised by his family.

According to reports, a 62-year-old Bumble Bee employee identified as Jose Melena was accidentally cooked to death in an oven in the seafood plant last October 11. Melena was a 6-year employee of the company.

The cooking device that killed the man was said to be a steamer machine, according to Whittier police officials.

Initial investigation revealed that Melena died after being trapped inside an industrial-sized pressure cooker that he routinely loaded with tuna as part of  his everyday job.

At present, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

In fact, during the preliminary investigation, a decade-long employee of the plant testified that someone must have been negligent or made a bad mistake for that incident to happen.

According to the employee, it takes three people to do the job since the area has three machines. In addition, the task like pulling the tuna cans to transfer into another machine requires three people since they are too heavy for a single person to lift.

Moreover, it is a strict protocol that if one left his position, even just to go to the comfort room, someone has to take charge of his place. Therefore, it means that to accomplish the job, team work is necessary.

Subsequently, the Bumble Bee Seafoods could not yet comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, Melena’s family is currently waiting for an explanation on how the worker was cooked to death at the plant. Allegedly, the seafood plant is not yet giving them any word regarding the death of their family member aside from informing them about his death.

Melena left behind seven dependents, including his wife and his six children.

Most probably, the company is likewise relying on the final result of the investigation of the Cal/OSHA officials, which is estimated to take three to four months. 

In the meantime, authorities are looking at every angle of the incident. Definitely, upon the final result of the investigation, officials will be able to finally determine whether there was any violation of state health and safety regulations committed by the employer.

Also, the family would be able to determine if the incident was purely an accident or someone should be held liable for the death of their loved one, explained by a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.


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