Beall Brewery Insurance reports that the production and use of carbon dioxide is among the most frequent causes of anecdotal injury notifications in breweries.
Most people wouldn’t think of pressure in connection with the craft brewery industry—except for the pressure of producing outstanding beer. But pressure plays an important role in an operating brewery, and is one of the many dangers facing the staff who work there. Although incidents resulting in injury or fatality of brewery staff are rare, they do happen. In 2004, for instance, an employee at one Southern California brewery was sanitizing beer kegs with boiling water from a hose connected to a hot water tank. One keg had not been properly purged to relieve internal pressure, so when the gate valve was opened, the pressurized beer keg caused the boiling water in the tank to overflow and spill onto the employee, resulting in second degree burns to his legs, back, and arms—and a 10-day hospitalization.
In 2012, a New England craft brewery worker was pumping a plastic keg full of compressed air so he could clean it—but the keg exploded, mortally wounding him.
Beall Brewery Insurance provides the following tips to keep staff safe when using pressure or pressurized systems:
- Create a culture of safety within the brewery. Set a good example by using all equipment properly, and using personal protective equipment. Develop a safety handbook and make sure staff is familiar with everything it contains—and follows the guidelines.
- Ensure that staff is fully trained, and offer refresher training sessions.
- Conduct regular maintenance checks of all tanks, lines, and other equipment. Conduct periodic checks of tank pressures.
- Appropriately label cylinders used in the brewery so it is clear whether they are empty or full.
- Secure cylinders to a fixed object with chain or nylon webbing, and secure lines that convey high pressured gases so they are out of the way.
Check that your insurance policy offers sufficient coverage for accidents that may occur—but better still, strive to ensure that accidents don’t have a chance to happen.
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.