Bumble Bee Foods, Two Employees Charged In Worker’s 2012 Death

Two-and-a half years after a worker at a Bumble Bee Foods cannery died inside a pressure cooker at the factory, official charges have been filed against the company and two of its employees f.

Bumble Bee, a former safety manager and the director of plant operations were each charged with three felony counts of committing an occupational safety and health violation that caused a death, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The worker died in October 2012 after entering a 35-foot oven at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant so he could fix something inside the machine, which is used to sterilize cans of tuna. Other plant workers didn’t realize he was inside, loaded a bunch of carts inside it, shut the door and started the oven. As the temperatures reached up to 270 degrees, the worker inside died and his remains were found by another plant worker.

Bumble Bee says in a statement that it disagrees with and is “disappointed by the charges” filed by Los Angeles prosecutors, calling the worker’s death a “tragic accident.” It noted that the California Division of Occupational Safety & Health “found no willful violations related to the accident” after its investigation.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said the charges against Bumble Bee Foods are part of her goal to go after workplace safety violations.

“We take worker safety very seriously,” Lacey said in a statement. “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.”

Bumble Bee Foods, 2 others charged after employee died in pressure cooker [Los Angeles Times]