As craft brewing has become an increasingly popular industry and hobby in New Jersey and across the country, brewery workers may face increased risk on the jobs. There are certain types of risks that can be particularly common at craft breweries, especially those started by beer hobbyists who have started to make their craft into a profitable business. Business owners have a responsibility to follow federal workplace safety guidelines; when they fail to do so, workers could face serious injuries due to accidents.
One of the most common risks of workplace accidents or injuries at a brewery is a failure to make confined spaces safe. Fermenters, kettles and other equipment often must be repaired or maintained in confined spaces that are not designed for continuous occupancy. In some cases, employees must receive an entry permit before beginning work in these spaces. Businesses must have an emergency rescue plan and monitor the atmosphere inside confined areas to ensure that they remain safe for workers to maintain the equipment. In other cases, breweries may frequently require workers to lift heavy objects like full kegs or sacks of grain. While heavy lifting can be a part of many jobs, it can also lead to serious back injuries, especially if workers do not have access to proper training or safety equipment.
While craft breweries often hearken back to historic ways of creating beer, hazardous chemicals may still be part of the operation. Acids, cleaning fluids and ammonia can all be part of maintaining a safe, effective brewery, but workers should have training and proper protective equipment when dealing with chemicals that can cause serious harm.
Workers in breweries may be at risk of catastrophic injuries or permanent disability due to a workplace accident. A workers’ compensation lawyer may help injured workers to seek the benefits they deserve.