Food Injury prevention

Canadian safety agency spotlights hazards in craft brewing industry

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Photo: WorkSafeBC

Richmond, British Columbia — Responding to growth in the craft brewing and distilling industry, WorkSafeBC has released health and safety resources intended to help employers protect workers.

A video, poster and guide provide tips for mitigating common industry hazards, including confined spaces, slippery surfaces, working at height, exposure to high concentrations of carbon dioxide, hazardous and flammable chemicals, dust, ladders, and unguarded machinery.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of breweries in the United States more than quintupled between 2010 and 2016, climbing to 2,843 from 527.

In 2016, 58,580 workers were employed by breweries, while 12,207 worked in distilleries. Meanwhile, the nonfatal workplace injury and illness rate among brewery workers ranged from a low of 3.6 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2009 to a high of 5.8 per 100 FTEs in 2014, BLS states. In distilleries, incidence rates decreased to 2.3 in 2016 from 7.0 in 2006.

WorkSafeBC has charted craft brewery expansion in British Columbia as well, noting that the industry now exceeds 160 employers in the province after standing at 54 a decade ago.

“Craft-beer brewing is a complex process that involves multiple stages of production,” Megan Martin, WorkSafeBC manager of industry and labor services, said in a March 18 press release. “We know brewers and distillers spend a lot of time and effort focusing on the quality of their products, and we want to make sure they produce them safely.”

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