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Bumble Bee offers unusual approach to accident

Bumble Bee Foods, located in a state the borders Arizona, made national news recently for a manufacturing accident that took the life of one of their long-time employees. The worker, who was skilled and had worked with that equipment for years, was found dead inside one of the company's commercial pressure cookers at their plant in the nearby state. Foul play has been ruled out, but it's not yet known how the factory accident occurred. A state investigation is underway and could take several months to complete.

Bumble Bee was cleared by state authorities to resume operations that same day, but chose to shut down instead out of respect for the deceased employee and his grieving co-workers. Without being forced, they chose to remain shut down for three days.

Even though there was no product contamination, the company also safely discarded all product processed at the time of the accident. The company also provided grief counselors for its workers, reached out to the employee's family and has implemented a mandatory retraining of all personnel on operating and safety procedures.

The company's actions are steps in the right direction and are quite refreshing when compared to how other companies handle factory accidents. Nevertheless, in the world of workers' compensation, Bumble Bee will pay the victim's family at least some compensation for their loss. The factory where this happened lies in a no-fault workers' comp state (like Arizona). Even if the investigation were to show that it was somehow the worker's fault, Bumble Bee will still pay.

Nevertheless, Bumble Bee Foods seems to sincerely share in the grief of the worker's family and his co-workers and has voluntarily taken some uncommon steps in the right direction to show their support.

Source: LagunaNiguel Patch, "Bumble Bee Foods writes open letter in light of employee death," Oct. 11, 2012

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