The brewery is not as safe as some may seem, there are all sorts of injuries that could arise from working at a local brewery. You can get burned, crushed by a forklift, ran over, blown up by a keg, and drunk. All jokes aside, someone needs to taste the batch, you know, quality control!
Lately, we have seen a few extra bumps and bruises from some dudes that have a real passion for the beer-making craft but can’t seem to stay clear of scalding hot pipes, forklifts, and keg barrels. Seriously, I want to laugh writing this, but I have a buddy I was drinking with last weekend that works for a local brew-house, and he is adamant that injuries on the job are common. So I’m here to poke a little fun, but also explore the reality that brew-house injuries are a serious thing, and it needs to be documented for the health of these fine young folks that are putting their necks on the line for our excessive consumption of hoppy barley juice.
The Brewery Ladders
Most brew-houses are setup in industrial warehouses where they can craft their witches brew to perfection, drain, barrel, bottle, and distribute. These massive vats of brew require workers to scale ladders, climb stairs, and hover over large openings where the liquid love is being made. Falling from ladders and stairs is common in the brewery. Throughout the processing phase, you are dealing with liquids. It would only make sense that there are spills, and those spills lead to employees taking a spill. Ever heard the term “slippery when wet,” yeah, that actually was derived from real-life experiences.
Forklifts can be dangerous in any warehouse, especially if the guy driving it isn’t using his head. Simple distractions can have a forklift driver looking one way, and steering another. These massive pieces of machinery can crush feet, so be cautious when working around them or operating one. There have also been videos that have surfaced, showing forklifts carrying too much weight and tipping. Something to consider if you are moving pallets of kegs around the warehouse.
Full and Empty Kegs
Full or empty, either way, it’s a lot of weight to move. The back is a sensitive part of the body, and if you’re not careful, throwing one of these around can land you in bed for the month. Make sure you wear a back brace, stretch, and prepare yourself before you start shuffling 150 plus pounds of metal and beer around the warehouse floor. There is no need to be macho, save that for the bar stool.
Clowning Around on The Job
Everyone needs to clown a little on the job, regardless of what the industry is. Working in a warehouse is a different atmosphere than most office or retail environments. I know because I worked in one for about five years and I know what can go on in there. We were out of the view of clients and management 99.9% of the time, and I was in my 20’s. We would tie ropes to the forklifts and get pulled around on our skateboards. We would race the pallet jacks, build stuff, shoot BB guns, climb to the top of pallet racks, it was endless amounts of fun that was dangerous and out of line. We even drank in there on occasion. My guess is that there are many brewery warehouses where things like this take place. I would also venture to guess that there are a lot of guys take’n a pull off nozzle every once in a while. The only things that are bound to happen when drinking and clowning around in a warehouse are injuries, except for me, I never got hurt… but do as I say, not as I do.
Injury Documentation is a Must
Now, if you’re a manager, this type of behavior is not acceptable. It’s your responsibility to keep these keg sling’n slosh bucklers healthy and working because if beer isn’t getting brewed and bottled, you’re out of work! So as a manager of a brewery, you need to invest in safety management software so you can cover your ass and your employees in case something severe happens like broken bones, or even worse, hospitalization. Simply documenting the spills (not the beer) when they happen so that there is a record of it may also help you if things get out of hand, and you end up in the legal system defending yourself and your job. I’m going to hammer this hard because I know how incident management software can save your ass when it’s time to answer to your boss or a law team. Keep track, document, and archive that information for future use. Trust me; it will all be worth it.
Brewery Injuries are Down
Amongst all the drab, emotional typing, I have some positive news to share! The Brewers Association noted that in 2018, brewery injuries fell to an all-time low. However, severe injuries and fatalities are still a shocking reality among many breweries across the United States. There is more that we can do to prevent severe injury or the loss of life. It starts with the guys inside those warehouses because only they know what is really happening behind those closed bay doors. If we can educate with e-learning software, and give them the tools to work and manage their responsibilities properly, we will continue to see these injuries in the brewhouse plummet.
Now, let me pour out a beer for all those that have lost their lives brewing this otherworldly nectar of love…… Well, just a splash, I hate to disrespect the living and waste anything more than that.