Why Safety and the Adult Beverage Industry Make the Perfect Pair

By Carola Mittag

Posted Feb 4th, 2019 in Tips & News

Why Safety and the Adult Beverage Industry Make the Perfect Pair

What hits the spot better than having two things that are meant to go together? Whether it’s a glass of Riesling while nibbling on cheese and crackers or, a good Cabernet with your favourite red meat.

Here are unlikely pairings that many people may not think of: wineries, breweries, distilleries and safety. While you might not think these are a match, the truth is that as the alcoholic beverage industry continues to grow and create jobs, so does the need for safety to ensure the safe return home of each worker at the end of the day.

Aside from the obvious trips and slips that can happen on the wet floor surfaces, there are a number of other risks to workers including compressed-gas cylinders, such as CO² cylinders, oxygen cylinders, nitrogen cylinders, air compressors, propane tanks, and even pressurized empty kegs.

Working at Heights
Beverage processing plants are filled with large production machines that can make tedious maintenance tasks difficult and risky – especially when workers have to access awkward areas while working at heights.Whether for maintenance or part of the wine-making process, working at heights is often part of the day-to-day responsibilities.
You must assess how high you’ll be working, the task at hand and asking yourself the right questions to determine that you’re using the right ladder or work platform for the job. Between boilers, vats, tanks and cylinders, it is challenging to find the working-at-height solution that’s appropriate for the unique environment in the adult beverage industry.

Whether it’s exposure to noise and/or chemicals, hazards you may encounter in your workplace must be identified. From hearing and respiratory protection, to coveralls and protective gloves, ensure that every part of the body that could be exposed to a hazard is covered.

Hazardous Gases
During wine production, are you thinking about carbon dioxide (CO²)? During fermentation, both alcohol and CO² are produced and often found in storage tanks, fermentation rooms and barrel cellars. Because CO² is heavier than air, the hazardous gas gathers in pools in poorly-ventilated areas, e.g. at the bottom of tanks and in confined spaces. Because CO² is undetectable, we strongly recommended that routine gas detections are performed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all workers.

Confined Spaces
Entering confined spaces such as vats, tanks, dry wells and pressing equipment can be high-risk for any employee who is not properly trained. Establishing proper escape plans and emergency protocol is essential when it comes to maintaining a safe workplace.

While performing maintenance and cleaning on equipment, it’s imperative to lock out any sources of energy. Establishing a proper Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) program can not only save your workers from serious injuries but and may very well be the difference between life and death.

Health and Safety
Health and safety is a legal requirement. All businesses, including wineries, craft breweries and distilleries, must have an occupational health and safety program to prevent workplace injury and disease. Health and safety programs must meet certain standards, and you must exercise due diligence in taking steps to meet those standards.

Contact WSG for help in assessing your requirements to meet MOL guidelines and standards. info@workplacesafetygroup.com

Get an evaluation of your workplace and get on track with safety and compliance.

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