After grisly accident, two managers face jail time & company faces charges

by on April 29, 2015 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Possibly the most horrifying accidents are lockout/tagout violations. Bumble Bee Foods faces up to $1.5 million in OSHA fines and two managers at its Sante Fe Springs, CA, plant face up to three years in prison for allegedly violating lockout/tagout, confined space and safety-plan implementation regulations.

In October 2012, 62-year-old Jose Melena went missing. A supervisor paged him on the intercom and when he didn’t respond, employees conducted a room-by-room search. After two hours, employees shut down a 35-foot long industrial oven filled with 12,000 cans of tuna fish. Melena was found dead, severely burned.

During an OSHA investigation, compliance officers learned that Melena was conducting maintenance inside the oven. Another employee thought Melena was in a nearby bathroom, and filled the oven with the cans, and switched on the oven, which is used to sterilize the cans.

OSHA investigators said the company, its operations manager and safety manager “willfully” violated safety rules, including:

  • failing to implement a safety plan
  • not locking out machinery, and
  • allowing workers inside permit-required confined spaces without following required regulations.

The lesson here is sad, but clear: Logout/tagout, confined spaces and safety plans save lives.

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