According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, brewery injuries have been on the rise the last four years, Beall Brewery Insurance reports.
In 2011, brewery professionals reported 160 work-related injuries. By 2014, that number had risen to 530. More than half of them were sprains or strains, chemical burns or corrosions, and bruises or contusions.
We have addressed many of the risks brewery workers face, such as working in confined spaces, working in extreme heat and cold, machinery hazards, and hazardous chemicals. Today we’d like to spotlight brewery hand injury.
It’s easy enough for anyone to jam a finger or get a cut on the hand—but occupational hand injuries are not to be taken lightly. They are among the most common in the US workplace, accounting for 5-10 percent of all emergency room visits nationwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 110,000 workers each year miss work due to hand or finger injuries miss days of work—a group second in size only to workers who lose days of work due to back pain and strain.
Prevent Brewery Hand Injury
Planning and training can go a long way toward helping protect your workers’ hands. Try this:
- Review injuries/ incidents reported at your brewery
- Analyze hazardous chemical use at the brewery
- Complete a Physical Hazard Assessment of brewery operations (electric, crush, amputation, caught in, struck by, hot/cold surfaces, laceration, chemical exposure)
- Review PPE/ tools assigned to each risk type
- Review work practices for the hazards, intended to prevent hand injuries
- Conduct a machine guard program review and inspection
Once you’re sure you have a thorough understanding of the risks your brewery workers face each day, consider how they can prevent injury due to those risks.
- Develop procedures to help reduce exposure to hazards (for instance, a hazardous chemical policy or a PPE use policy)
- Encourage your entire workforce to participate in good housekeeping practices to reduce hazards around the brewery
- Offer regular trainings and refresher trainings to ensure workers know when and how to properly use PPE, the proper procedures for working in confined spaces, extreme cold, etc. Encourage workers to report equipment problems promptly (hand injuries often result from equipment not working as expected).
While all workers can benefit from refresher trainings, it is less experienced brewery staff who are most frequently injured. According to the BLS, in 2013 a total of 40 brewery workers with less than one year’s experience reported injuries; in 2014, that number jumped to 200. About half of reported brewery worker injuries in 2014 kept employees out of work for 10 days or longer.
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.