Worker Cooked to Death at Seafood Plant

In an accident that evokes Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and the muckraker novels of the industrial revolution, a worker at a Bumble Bee Foods factory was killed when he was cooked to death in an oven designed to steam tuna.  Paramedics responded to an "industrial accident" at the seafood plant shortly after 7:00 a.m. on October 11, 2012, where they pronounced Jose Melena, 62, dead at the scene.  Officials say that Melena's body was found in the steam oven, but an investigation has not revealed how he got there. Melena had worked for the factory for six years, placing tuna into the large steamer on the late shift.  Officials at Bumble Bee Foods temporarily suspended operations at the plant to investigate the accident and Melena's death, but the plant has since been reopened. Investigators with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) said a complete investigation could take up to six months.  If it is determined that health and safety violations occurred, resulting in Malena's death, both civil and criminal penalties may be assessed. Consumers expressed concerns that the death of a worker in one of the plant's ovens could have contaminated food products.  Bumble Bee Foods officials deny any contamination, saying, "In regards to the tragic incident that occurred at our plant this past week, the entire Bumble Bee Foods family is saddened by the loss of our colleague. Due to the nature of the accident, food safety was not compromised and we are cooperating with safety officials to determine the cause of the accident." Industrial accidents often lead to catastrophic injury or death.  Industrial and job site accident injuries include:

  • Fall injury
  • Crushing injury
  • Amputation
  • Heat burns
  • Caustic burns
  • Chemical exposure
  • Head injury
  • Eye injury
  • Back injury
  • Blunt force trauma
Workers' compensation is available to employees who have suffered an accident at work.  However, if the accident and injury occur due to an employer's negligence or carelessness, an award from a personal injury lawsuit or settlement can often compensate an injured worker and his or her family for resulting damages beyond medical expenses and lost wages.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an industrial accident in Oklahoma, hiring an attorney can facilitate your claim and help you to get the maximum compensation available.