Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

OSHA violations that are common in the craft beer industry

Craft brewery owners in Connecticut should know what are the most common OSHA violations in their industry; that way, they can take steps to ensure a safer workplace. There are six to keep in mind, the first being the violation of OSHA's standard regarding permit-required confined spaces. Many breweries have employees work in these spaces when they are not, in reality, designed for continuous occupancy.

A second common violation is against the General Duty Clause, which states that employers must keep the workplace free of recognized hazards. Among these hazards can be included heavy kegs and sacks of grain. Without proper training, employees can suffer ergonomic injuries lifting these.

Two other violations are connected with the management of hazardous chemicals, especially cleaning and sanitation chemicals, and with hazard communication. Ammonia falls under OSHA's Process Safety Management rules because it is technically hazardous. Brewery owners should have a gas detection device installed rather than assume that the distinct smell of ammonia will warn them of a leak.

Fifthly, there are violations of the lockout/tagout standard. When employers violate this, they put their workers at risk for injury when machinery accidentally starts up or hazardous energy is unintentionally released. Lastly, owners may neglect to provide employees with gloves, goggles and face protection at critical times.

In the event that a brewery worker suffers a back injury from heavy lifting or develops a condition from inhaling hazardous chemicals, he or she may file a workers' compensation claim, assuming that the employer has the insurance. If successful, a claim may cover medical expenses, a portion of lost wages and even short- or long-term disability leave. If a worker dies, the workers' comp program usually pays out death benefits based on the number of dependants. Whatever the case may be like, victims may benefit by consulting with an attorney.

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