In general, hazards in the brewing industry are similar to hazards found in any manufacturing business. Equipment use, heavy machinery use, and general personal safety must be monitored when working in the brewery industry. Luckily, it’s easy to stay safe while working at a brewery when everyone gets involved and stays mindful of their environment.
As with many industries, ergonomics is a top concern. Statistically, it is one of the top reasons for an injury claim. Daily repetitive motion, consistent lifting, and more wears on the body until it breaks, without proper precautions. Today, there are many automated processes that help reduce ergonomic injuries, such as hoists, keg robots, and more. Complete lift training and use it properly when automation is not an option. Stretch the arms, legs, and back periodically to help reduce muscle strain injuries.
Dangerous Work Surfaces
This includes wet floors, items in the way of walking paths, and improperly stacked inventory or items. Remedy these situations by cleaning up spills right away, completing monthly hazard walk-throughs, and checking on fellow employees. Ensure that no one is improperly stacking, leaving trip hazards behind, or ignoring spills. Never store items on stairs or platforms, even if they are not consistently used during daily routines. Constant access to all pathways reduces risk of injury during an emergency, such as a fire.
Beyond slip and trip risks are falls from stairways, elevated platforms, or ladders. Make sure all employees have proper ladder training, and all stairways have secure handrails. Include toeboards on platforms, and slip resistant strips wherever possible. Never bend and reach when on a high ladder, and always use a ladder tall enough for the task. Avoid working on the edge of elevated platforms, and use handrails on stairs every time.
Breweries have a variety of powered trucks, from forklifts to pallet trucks. All employees allowed to operate these machines must have a documented training on file. Daily inspections must be completed, and the machines must never be loaded above the rated capacity. Drivers must proceed with caution, practicing all training safety procedures. Use lock out/tag out methods whenever possible, and never leave the machine unattended in high traffic areas.
Never try to change safety devices implemented on kegs. Any connected systems should be complete with working pressure regulators, and only use kegs that come from your brewery. Inspect kegs regularly, ensuring the steel ball, Sankey valve, and o-ring are functioning properly. Following these safety procedures will avoid tainting the product, and will help keep workers safe.
Heat in any form damages quickly. Make sure everyone is safe with hot water pipe and steam insulation and labeled hot surfaces. Read all written procedures for handling heat, and wear long sleeves and pants. Wear proper safety goggles, gloves and any other personal protective equipment provided.
Reducing workplace injuries is everyone’s job. Stay safe in the brewery by being prepared and following all safety regulations.