According to the Brewers Association, craft brewing was a $26 billion industry in 2017 and accounted for more than 23% of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market. While overall beer sales were down about 1%, craft brewing grew at a rate of 5% by volume.
As the demand for craft beers increases, the number of craft breweries continues to rise! For many, making craft brews is fun: creating original recipes, coming up with clever names, and watching people enjoy your creations. In fact, many of these craft breweries are started as hobbies among a bunch of friends or family members in someone’s garage.
However, it’s important to remember that once you begin selling your beer or if you decide to open a brewpub or restaurant, you need to treat it like a business and that includes addressing safety and risk management. The safer your brewery or restaurant, the safer your workers. Safe workers mean fewer injuries and expenses and perhaps even the difference between a thriving business and one that is forced to shut its doors.
Insurance is Important; Prevention is Key
Insurance will help protect you, your workers, and your brewery or restaurant, but prevention is always your best bet.
There are a surprising number of hazards during the production of beer: grain mills with sharp parts, mash and lauter tuns with boiling ingredients, chemicals, overflowing kettles, pressurized fermenter tanks. Then there hazards common to many industries such as the use of heavy equipment and ladders.
If you want to keep your workers safe and protect your business from lawsuits and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) fines, it’s important to recognize potential hazards and address them BEFORE someone is injured or worse.
Here are 4 Common Hazards in the Brewing Industry:
1 - Carbon Dioxide Poisoning
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas produced during beer fermentation. It’s heavier than air, soit can collect at the bottom of confined spaces and containers such as tanks. When it accumulates, it can lead to dizziness, loss of consciousness, and even death.
According to Crowcon Detection Instruments Ltd, a toxic gas detection equipment manufacturer, “Exposure to as little as 0.5% volume CO2 represents a toxic health hazard, while concentrations greater than 10% volume can lead to death. Because CO2 is completely odorless and colorless, there is no physical indication of danger until it is usually too late.”
Carbon monoxide detectors should be used in confined spaces where CO2 can quickly accumulate, and those areas should only be entered when absolutely necessary. The buddy system can also help avoid issues with CO2
2 - Heavy Equipment
As the volume of beer production increases, breweries to use forklifts and other equipment to move heavy loads like raw materials, pallets of kegs, and cases of beer. It’s essential that a qualified person trains anyone who is going to be operating any of this type of equipment before operating the equipment.
3 - Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances
Brewers use a variety of hazardous chemicals and toxins such as caustics and acids used in sanitization that can cause irritation, sensitization, corrosion, fires, and explosions. Workers need to be trained on proper handling of hazardous materials, the use of personal protective equipment, and first aid. OSHA requires that safety data sheets be available for every hazardous chemical used.
4 - Slips and Falls
Falls are one of the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. The use of ladders and catwalks in breweries can create falling hazards. Guardrail systems, safety nets, personal fall protection systems, and training on the proper use of ladders can help prevent falls from higher levels.
Spills should be cleaned up immediately, floors should be kept clean, and any potential hazards clearly marked.
Brewing beer can still be enjoyable, but once you begin selling your beer or decide to open a restaurant, it’s important to assess hazards and take a few safety measures to protect your workers and your business. The right insurance coverage – whether that’s genera liability, workers’ compensation, or liquor liability insurance – provides protection when safety measures fail.
Save on Great Insurance for Your Brewery, Brew Pub or Restaurant
Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online to get the right insurance at the best price for your brewery or restaurant.
Our independent insurance agents will compare plans and costs among competing carriers and present the best insurance solution to meet your needs.
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