Bumble Bee forced to pay $6M for maintenance worker cooked alive

By USA Today and Newser

Aug 14, 2015

Bumble Bee Foods will fork out $6 million for the horrific death of an employee cooked alive in 12,000 pounds of tuna fish, NBC News reports.

Announced Wednesday by prosecutors, the plea agreement is California's biggest ever for a workplace safety violation. It consists of $3 million to buy new automated ovens, $1.5 million to the state government and courts, and $1.5 million to the family of Jose Melena, 62, who died at Bumble Bee's Santa Fe Springs plant in 2012.

Melena was working in a 36-foot-by-54-inch oven — likely fixing or altering a chain inside, the Whittier Daily News reports — when a co-worker assumed Melena was in the bathroom, dumped in tuna, and turned on the oven. An autopsy concluded Melena died from burns in the 270-degree pressure cooker.

Former Bumble Bee safety manager Saul Florez pleaded guilty to breaking lockout rules and was hit with three years' probation and $19,000 in penalties and fines. The sentence for Bumble Bee's director of plant operations, Angel Rodriguez, includes fines and community service. Meanwhile, Melena's family has a civil attorney and could still sue Bumble Bee.

Read the full story here.

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