Bumble Bee Foods is feeling the legal heat from Los Angeles prosecutors after being charged for accidentally cooking a worker to death in an industrial oven.
Prosecutors are charging the company and two of its managers with three counts of violating Occupational Safety & Health Administration rules.
Jose Melena was performing maintenance in a 35-foot-long oven at the company's Santa Fe Springs plant before dawn Oct. 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 could face a $1.5 million fine, while the two managers would be fined up to $250,000 and up to three years in prison.