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Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven 

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Old 04-29-2015, 04:39 AM
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Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

By Cortney Peltz
hln.com

April 28, 2015

The Los Angeles County District Attorney announced Monday that Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, and two employees are facing charges after an employee was burned to death inside of a pressurized steam cooker.

In October 2012, Jose Melena, a six year employee of the company, entered a 35 foot cylindrical oven as part of his job duties at Bumble Bee’s Santa Fe Springs plant, authorities said.

The oven is used to sterilize cans of tuna.

Co-workers were unaware that Melena, 62, was inside of the oven when they loaded multiple carts, collectively containing around 12,000 pounds of tuna, into the super heated pressurized steam cooker, prosecutors said.

The employees closed the door and started the oven, inadvertently trapping Melena inside of the oven.

During the two hour heat sterilization process, the oven's internal temperature reached nearly 270 degrees, according to the district attorney.

Melena’s severely burned remains were later discovered by a co-worker.

Bumble Bee Foods, LLC and two managers, were charged with three felony counts of an Occupational Safety & Health Administration violation causing death.

If convicted, the company’s former safety manager and director of plant operations could face three years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Bumble Bee Foods, LLC faces a maximum fine of $1.5 million.

In a statement, Bumble Bee, LLC said the company remains devastated by the loss of Jose Melena but disagrees with and is disappointed by the charges filed by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

“We are currently exploring all options with respect to those charges and will proceed in the manner that best serves the needs of the Melena family, our employees and the Company,” the company says. “Safety has always been and will always be a top priority at our facilities. Since the 2012 accident, we have made our safety program even more robust, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the safest possible workplace for our employees.”

More details here:

Tuna Company, 2 Managers Charged After Worker Cooked to Death at California Canning Factory

April 27, 2015

Luanne M. Ferris
Albany Times Union

Jose Melena was found dead in a Bumble Bee Foods pressure cooker with 12,000 pounds of tuna at a California canning factory in 2012.

LOS ANGELES — Bumble Bee Foods and two managers were charged by Los Angeles prosecutors Monday with violating safety regulations in the death of a worker who was cooked in an industrial oven with tons of tuna.

Jose Melena was performing maintenance in a 35 foot long oven at the company's Santa Fe Springs plant before dawn October 11, 2012, when a co-worker, who mistakenly believed Melena was in the bathroom, filled the pressure cooker with 12,000 pounds of canned tuna and it was turned on.

When a supervisor noticed Melena, 62, was missing, an announcement was made on the intercom and employees searched for him in the facility and parking lot, according to a report by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. His body was found two hours later after the pressure cooker, which reached a temperature of 270 degrees, was turned off and opened.

The company, its plant Operations Director Angel Rodriguez and former safety manager Saul Florez were each charged with three counts of violating Occupational Safety & Health Administration rules that caused a death.

The charges specify that the company and the two men willfully violated rules that require implementing a safety plan, rules for workers entering confined spaces, and a procedure to keep machinery or equipment turned off if someone's working on it.

Rodriguez, 63, of Riverside, and Florez, 42, of Whittier, could face up to three years in prison and fines up to $250,000 if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said. Bumble Bee Foods faces a maximum fine of $1.5 million.

The state's occupational safety agency previously cited the San Diego-based company for failing to properly assess the danger to employees working in large ovens and fined it $74,000.

Bumble Bee, which has appealed the penalties, said the company improved its safety program after the tragedy.

Los Angeles District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, (pictured below), said prosecutors and investigators from her office have been going to major industrial accidents to ensure illegal and deadly work practices are prosecuted.

"We remain devastated by the loss of our colleague, Jose Melena, in the tragic accident," the company said in a statement. "We disagree with and are disappointed by the charges filed by the Los Angeles district attorney's office."

Florez refused to comment, and messages seeking comment from Rodriguez were not immediately returned.

District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, said prosecutors and investigators from her office have been going to major industrial accidents to ensure illegal and deadly work practices are prosecuted.

Prosecutions of workplace violations are uncommon — even in fatalities.

The State cited nearly 15,000 workplace violations in 2013, according to the state agency. Of 189 fatality investigations opened that year, the state only referred 29 to prosecutors.

District attorneys only filed charges in 14 cases that year, though some of those charges could have been for cases referred in earlier years. They could have brought charges subsequently for cases filed in 2013.

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Old 04-29-2015, 05:28 AM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

How could you not look first? Especially when you know workers routinely go inside those things to do repairs.

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Old 04-29-2015, 05:33 AM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

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Originally Posted by K9Grip View Post
How could you not look first? Especially when you know workers routinely go inside those things to do repairs.

If everyone had, "common sense," we'd have no DR.

Stupidity, as usual.

I added some more info. They thought he was in the bathroom.

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Old 04-29-2015, 06:43 AM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven


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Old 04-29-2015, 09:03 AM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

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Originally Posted by diamondsmiles View Post
If everyone had, "common sense," we'd have no DR.

Stupidity, as usual.

I added some more info. They thought he was in the bathroom.

I think of the top five ways I'd hate to die and being cooked to death is definitely up there.

No way to hurry up and off yourself either.

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Old 04-29-2015, 09:14 AM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

omg.

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Old 04-29-2015, 12:30 PM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

That is horrific. What a way to go.

I agree, common sense is lacking in a lot of people. But at some point when you are doing your job (which involves people being in an oven) you should probably think, "Hm.. maybe someone is inside this oven & I shouldn't turn it on until I check.."

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Old 04-29-2015, 01:18 PM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

I am just wondering who buys tuna in water, how revolting.

I am also wondering how it would feel to be steamed to death, hopefully he would have asphyxiated before he felt his skin starting to slip off of his bones...

Civil suit pending no doubt.

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Old 04-30-2015, 12:44 AM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

Aren't the pics on here? I could have sworn I've seen some pics of that same event

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Old 04-30-2015, 01:00 AM
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Re: Man Cooked to Death in Tuna Oven

poor guy.

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