Ohio Alliance Foresees a Safer Industry

Alliance partners will provide education and support to brewery owners and their employees on safety and health issues specific to craft brewers, as well as risks unique to their industry.

With the end of 2018 drawing near, let's toast the Ohio Craft Brewery Alliance, a safety training alliance recently joined by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, OSHA, and Ohio craft brewery associations. The goal of their alliance is to raise awareness and develop safety education and training specific to the fast-growing industry.

"As safety professionals, we must react quickly to meet the needs of employers in emerging industries that are still perfecting processes and learning important safety lessons as they grow," said Dr. Abe Al-Tarawneh, chief of BWC's Division of Safety and Industrial Hygiene. "This alliance will help employers in Ohio's budding craft brewery industry assess their workplaces and correct hazardous conditions that have the potential to cause injury."

Industry participants include the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and the Brewers Association. Alliance participants have agreed to work together to provide education and support to brewery owners and their employees on safety and health issues specific to craft brewers, such as grain handling, keg filling, chemical exposure, bottling, canning, and delivery.

"In addition to safety challenges common to all manufacturers, breweries face unique risks associated with material handling and difficult working surfaces, as well as exposure to scalding liquids and electrical systems in wet areas," said Matt Stinchfield, safety ambassador for the Brewers Association. "The alliance will unify efforts to support safety in Ohio breweries, and we are optimistic it will also reduce injuries and increase business efficiencies." He said the associations will promote safe work practices through outreach to their members and facilitate training and education at craft breweries across the state.

Perhaps it could be a model for craft brewery groups elsewhere. According to the Brewers Association, there were 6,266 craft breweries operating in the United States in 2017, more than double the 2,898 operating in 2013. And while overall U.S. beer volume sales declined by 1 percent in 2017, craft brewer sales continued growing at a rate of 5 percent by volume. According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, Ohio ranks fifth among the states in craft beer production, with more than 15,000 jobs and an economic impact of $2.6 billion.


This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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