Manage Brewery Machinery Hazards

Beall Brewery Insurance reports that incidents involving machinery or tools rank in the three most frequent craft brewery workers’ compensation losses, according to data from The Hanover Insurance Group.

All machinery in the brewery—including the mill, conveyors, and bottling, capping, and labeling machines—poses a hazard to staff, particularly if the machines are not properly maintained and staff is not properly trained in using them.

Most machines have “pinch points,” a point at which a person (or part of his body) can be caught between parts of the machine or between some other material and the machine. Though pinch points need not cause injury to be called “pinch points”—they are simply points at which a person can be trapped without being able to extricate himself—pinch points can cause grievous injury or even death.

For instance, when one brewer was operating a grain mill without a belt guard, his hair was caught in the pulley system and his head smashed in the rollers. In another instance, a brewery employee had two fingers crushed in a bottling machine.

Brewing is a serious business–and so is employee safety. Manage brewery machinery hazards with these tips:

  • Ensure that the appropriate guards are installed, protecting the operator’s body from making contact with moving parts such as conveyors, shafts, pulleys, and chains, bottlers, cappers, and labelers, and so on.
  • During cleaning, repair, servicing, or other work on bottling and labeling machines, workers must be protected from the machine unexpectedly starting up. If the machine must be adjusted while in operation, as is sometimes the case, make sure that you have developed a specific procedure for that case.
  • Evaluate your machines and operations to identify pinch points and other brewery machinery hazards. Then eliminate or guard the pinch points to prevent employee contact with them.
  • Train your employees so they understand the reasons for the guards, the brewery machinery hazards that exist, and what injuries might result.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.