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Santa Fe Springs food plant employee killed in oven accident

An employee at a Santa Fe Springs seafood processing plant was killed recently after being cooked alive in an oven. The Contra Costa Times reports that an employee of Bumble Bee tuna processing plant was killed in a steam pressure cooker. The 62-year-old man was a father of six. His family was upset by the lack of information they initially received regarding their father’s fatal industrial accident.

“All they came and did was notify my mother that he had lost his life in an accident, and that’s it,” said one of the man’s children. “We don’t have any official report.”

The company has about 300 employees at its plant and the deceased man had worked there for several years at the time of his accident.

“He had worked at the facility for six years in that position and was considered a skilled and knowledgeable employee,” the company’s VP of human resources said.

A former employee of the tuna plant said that the area in which the deceased employee worked required three people to operate the machines at all times. Workers would wait for large metal baskets to be filled with tuna and then push the baskets into a tunnel that contains an oven. Once the basket is securely in the oven, the door is shut and another basket is prepped. The former employee noted that the tuna baskets are so heavy that it takes three men to push them.

“Somebody must have made a bad mistake for that to happen,” the former employee said of the man’s death. “If you do things right, that’s not going to happen.”

The investigation regarding this accident could take up to six months.

Source: Contra Costa Times, “Ex-Bumble Bee employee says major error must have caused fatal accident,” Mike Spragu, Oct. 16, 2012