Many have joined in the craft brewery revolution. In addition to the growth and excitement comes a need for safety and risk management. There are many hazards that employees face at a brewery on a daily basis, and the last thing a budding small business needs are serious injuries on the job.
Below is a summary of top four leading violations of Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards that affect brewers, and some steps and employer can take to help keep employees safe.
Confined Space Entry – 1910.146
Tanks and fermenters used for brewing can have one or more of these hazards: oxygen deficiency, mechanical agitators, hot surfaces and steam. Employees must be protected while working in any confined space, which is defined as “a space with limited or restricted entry and exit and not intended for continuous occupancy.” Employers must:
- Define each confined space in their operation
- Designate employees who are permitted to enter confined spaces
- Create specific procedures to isolate the hazard associated with the space
- Create lockout/tagout procedures for entering the space
- Create a response and rescue program
- Provide specialized employee training
- Provide additional PPE to employees (if needed)
Lockout/Tagout – 1910.147
Brewery equipment can include pumps, agitators, milling machines, canning, bottling and packaging equipment. All of these are powered by hazardous energy such as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic, that must be isolated and contained during maintenance or servicing.
Employers should draw up a program that informs employees of these potential dangers and include a Lockout/Tagout procedure so that personnel are trained to safely clean and service machinery.
Powered Industrial Trucks – 1910.178
Forklifts and other equipment can be used to move raw materials and finished goods. All operators of this equipment must be trained by a qualified trainer that includes classroom time and an on-road competency evaluation.
Operator training must be documented every three years and retraining is needed in the event of poor performance, a near miss, accident, or if conditions change.
Hazard Communication – 1910.1200
The brewing operation uses hazardous chemicals, including acids and caustics during the sanitation process. Employees should have access to all Safety Data Sheets. They have a right to know about the potential dangers and health risks posed by the chemicals they use.
Employers should also provide training for safely transporting and handling chemicals, in addition to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training and first aid response.
The complete list of OSHA violations for breweries can be found here.