Jose Malena, 65, suffered fatal injuries on the job after he was trapped in a cooking device at the Bumble Bee Foods plant in Santa Fe Springs. According to a KTLA news report, the incident occurred the morning of October 11, 2012 at the factory located in the 13100 block of Arctic Circle. Malena was discovered inside a device called the steamer machine and pronounced dead at the scene. Cal-OSHA officials are still trying to determine how Malena ended up inside the equipment. Investigators are also looking into whether there were any health or safety violations at the site.
OSHA officials stated that the investigation, which will include visits to the tuna canning plant, interviews and review of the company’s safety documentation, could be completed within six-months. If it is determined after the investigation that there were safety violations, the company could face civil penalties. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office will also determine if criminal charges are warranted.
My heartfelt condolences go out to the family members and friends of Jose Malena for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
What Caused This Accident?
Based on the news account, it is unclear as to how or why this tragic workplace accident occurred. Malena had apparently been working at the tuna plant for six years. There are several unanswered questions here. What caused Malena to fall into the steamer? Was he properly trained for the job? Was he equipped with the safety devices necessary to do the job? Was this accident the result of machinery or equipment malfunction or a defective product? I trust officials are looking into these and other factors in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.
In such cases, families of deceased victims can seek workers’ compensation benefits from the employer. However, in California, these benefits are woefully inadequate when it comes to covering a severely injured worker or a family that has lost its primary wage earner. In addition to workers’ compensation, a knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will look into whether a third-party claim can be filed against a party other than an employer. Examples of third parties include contactors, sub-contractors, property owners and manufacturers of defective products. The best personal injury law firms will always offer free consultations and comprehensive case evaluations to injured workers and their families.