It can be fun to focus on the lighter side of brewing. From taproom hangouts to clinking glasses there is a lot of reward to the hard work. Making sure the work is done in a safe manner is critically important not only for employees but the overall business.
While there are certain well known safety practices like how to properly wear boots to eye protection, there are additional steps breweries should be taking to ensure that everyone at the facility makes to that post-shift pint safe and sound.
Going beyond building codes, local and state ordinances and meeting the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements, there are things breweries can do to go beyond the basics.
Beer Edge editor John Holl asked a brewing professionals what they recommend adding to brewhouses to keep everyone a bit safer.
“Lockout tag out procedures,” says Laura Ulrich of Stone Brewing. “O2 monitors are pretty great too.”
A cutoff for the burners in case of a boil over, says Alex Rich of Xül Beer Co.
Adding non-slip treads for stairs is an easy way to keep folks safe in an often-wet environment, says freelance writer Carla Jean Lauter.
Going beyond the normal eye ware, Chris Cates of Little Animals Brewing in Johnson City, Tennessee suggests “full face goggles for undiluted chemical handling.”
There is also medica safety consider.
“Epipen, Narcan, defibrillator,” says Keith Lemcke of the Siebel Institute of Technology. “These are more first aid things than safety. The larger the pool of staff and/or customers on the premises, the greater the need. And staff need training to use them.”
“A relatively inexpensive piece of equipment that will definitely pay for itself and probably prevent serious injury, while also improving beer quality, is a DH Port-Mounted hop doser,” says Travis Kocurek of Hound Song Brewing in Texas. “It only took me being a little too stingy with money, and one hop geyser, to get one.”
He likes it not only for the safety aspect but how it also improves the beer.
“It pays for itself by way of beer you would’ve otherwise sold when the geyser occurs (and you have a big mess to clean up),” he says.
While it should go without saying have standard operating procedures for every aspect of the brewing process including pre-brew and packaging is important to keep everyone safe. Making sure these are followed and regularly updated along with mandatory training also helps keep people safe.
Brewers are quick to remind that budgeting for proper safety equipment and time for training will help save a lot of money and time down the line.