Canyon County

Boise man died in Nampa cheese plant incident, coroner says

The Sorrento Lactalis cheese plant in Nampa.
The Sorrento Lactalis cheese plant in Nampa. Idaho Statesman file

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death of Dennis Marsh, 41.

Marsh was crushed Thursday between a forklift and a rack at Nampa’s Sorrento Lactalis cheese factory, officials report. The Ada County Coroner’s Office said he was pronounced dead at 2:53 p.m. at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. The coroner’s report, released Friday, lists his cause of death as “severe crushing injuries.”

The incident was first reported at about 7:30 a.m. at Sorrento Lactalis, on 4912 E. Franklin Road.

“If there’s a workplace fatality, we’re required to investigate,” said OSHA area director David Kearns.

Kearns said it’s not yet clear how long the agency’s investigation could take. But OSHA plans to wrap up the investigation within six months, since that’s the statute of limitations for this type of incident.

Kearns said he hopes to release the findings more quickly, “not just for the victim’s family, who we feel terrible for,” he said. “But everyone needs closure.”

Lactalis issued a statement about the worker’s death Friday: “Lactalis American Group regretfully confirms that a tragic accident occurred at the company's manufacturing facility in Nampa, Idaho. Yesterday, at approximately 7:20am MST, an employee was injured while operating a standing forklift, and later passed away at the hospital. Plant employees immediately provided assistance and an ambulance was dispatched following a call to 911.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of our personnel. The company has launched a full investigation in order to determine the cause of this tragic accident.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of our lost colleague.”

Erin Fenner: 208-377-6207, @erinfenner