RISK Alert Report #710 – May 27, 2015
The Los Angeles District Attorney announced felony charges Monday against
Bumblebee Tuna’s San Diego Plant, alleging that a worker, Jose Melena, entered
a thirty-five foot cylindrical oven that sterilizes cans of tuna. Melena’s co-workers
closed the door and started the oven. The oven temperature rose to 270 degrees in
the next two hours, and when the doors were opened, they found the severely burned
remains of Jose Melena.
According to District Attorney Jackie Lacey, “We take worker safety very seriously”, according to a published statement. “Our goal is to enhance the criminal prosecution of workplace safety violations. Although the Bumble Bee investigation began in 2012, this case represents our commitment to protecting workers from illegal – and, potentially, deadly – on-the-job practices.”
Two plant employees, former Safety Manager Saul Florez, 42, of Whittier, California, and the current Director of Plant Operations Angel Rodriguez, 63, of Riverside, California, with three felony counts each of an Cal-OSHA (State of California ) violation causing death.
Both men face arraignment on May 27 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles. If convicted, the individuals could serve three years in state prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Bumble Bee faces a maximum fine of $1.5 million.
1. Strong safety controls should be put in place to protect workers in High Risk
2. Employees should make sure that all employees are aware of the
company’s safety and security rules to prevent incidents like this.
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