Update: Worker identified in fatal incident at Greeley JBS meatpacking plant

Coronavirus

GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) – A worker at the JBS meatpacking plant died Saturday after a piece of equipment hit him in the head, according to a union representative for some of the plant’s workers.

The victim has been identified as 55-year old Jonathan Bryan Duerst of Greeley.

A representative for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 1 said the incident happened while Duerst worked above a pool of water.

It’s the second serious incident to happen at the plant in the last three months, according to the union, which represents about 145 of the plant’s more than 3,000 workers.

Firefighters responded to the plant around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Greeley Fire Battalion Chief Robert Fries. On arrival, responders found a person had fallen and had been “extricated by coworkers.”

Firefighters and paramedics transported the Duerst to North Colorado Medical Center, Fries said.

In a statement, JBS confirmed the Duerst’s death.

“We are deeply saddened, and our thoughts and prayers are with our team member, his family, co-workers and friends. We are working closely with local officials to investigate the incident, and we are grateful to emergency personnel who responded quickly and did everything possible to help,” the statement reads.

The union representative said the organization will conduct its own investigation into the incident.

OSHA records show the JBS meatpacking facility has three open inspections from February of this year.

The plant also was the site of a large COVID-19 outbreak last spring. Six employees died.

OSHA fined the plant more than $15,000 on charges the plant failed to protect its workers from the deadly virus. JBS continues to contest the violations, OSHA records show.

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