A 62-year-old man was cooked to death in a "steamer machine" at a Bumble Bee tuna canning plant in Southern California. Jose Melena was found around 7:00 Thursday morning. No one knows yet what caused this horrific accident. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating.
Meanwhile, Bumble Bee closed the plant until today and issued the following statement: "The entire Bumble Bee Foods family is saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Melena family." The investigation could take up to six months before we find out exactly how this happened.
And then? I hope the company learns something from the results. Of course, depending on what they find -- were safety regulations violated? -- there could be lawsuits or even criminal charges. Melena had been on the job for six years, so while he wasn't a long-time veteran, he wasn't exactly a rookie, either. He had been there long enough to know what he was doing.
Until then, we have no way of knowing who is to blame for this accident. But regardless of whose fault it is, I hope they figure it out and everyone involved learns something. I think we would all hate to see this ever happen again.
At 62 Jose Melena was definitely near retirement age, but probably still plenty healthy and lucid to do his job, too. I imagine he must have had children and grandchildren -- a whole family who must miss him and were probably especially grieved to lose Melena under such sudden and awful circumstances.
Do you have any family members who have suffered major accidents at work like this one?
Image via nilsrinaldi/Flickr