Crain employee terminated, lawsuit pending after speaking out about workplace death

Crain Walnut Shelling.

A Crain employee was terminated on Friday after speaking to the media about an employee that was crushed and killed while working at the Walnut Shelling Factory in Los Molinos.

Dan Scampini, a former mechanical engineer with the company, was terminated after a two-week, unpaid suspension. According to Scampini, the company terminated him for violating the employee handbook and sharing a photo with the media of a piece of machinery at the factory.

Scampini told KRCR in an interview last week that a machine, known as the bin dumper, crushed and killed an employee at the shelling factory on Saturday, October 6. This prompted Scampini to speak out to the media. He says prior to the employee's death, he notified the company on numerous occasions of the dangers the bin dumper after almost getting crushed himself.

Scampini said he is in the process of filing a lawsuit against Crain for wrongful termination.

Crain has not responded to KRCR's request for comment about Scampini's termination.

Since the incident, Cal/OSHA has inspected the equipment and cleared it for use according to Mike Wallace, the Chief Financial Officer at Crain Walnut Shelling. Wallace said the worker "got in the way of a piece of machinery" and was "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

According to Cal/OSHA, they were notified of the death the same day at Crain Walnut Shelling Inc.

Cal/OSHA says the employee worked for Cal North Farm Labor Inc. They added an investigation has been opened into what caused the death and any possible violations. OSHA said their investigation is still ongoing and it can take up to six months for the investigation to be completed.

To read our original story with Scampini, click here.

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