Ohio BWC, OSHA Working with State's Craft Brewery Associations

"The alliance will unify efforts to support safety in Ohio breweries, and we are optimistic it will also reduce injuries and increase business efficiencies," said Matt Stinchfield, safety ambassador for the Brewers Association.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation announced this month that it is joining with OSHA and Ohio's craft brewery associations to form the Ohio Craft Brewery Alliance. Its goal is to raise awareness and develop safety education and training specific to the 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."

BWC will connect participating breweries to the safety resources and programs available through its Division of Safety & Hygiene and OSHA On-Site Consultation program. Stinchfield said the associations will promote safe work practices through outreach to their members and facilitate training and education at craft breweries across the state.

According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, Ohio has nearly 300 craft breweries and more are under development. The state ranks fifth among the states in craft beer production, with more than 15,000 jobs and an economic impact of $2.6 billion.

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