A Move Toward Safer Craft Brewing: Alliance Made Between OSHA Massachusetts Area Offices, the Massachusetts DLS Standards/OSHA Consultation, and Mass Brewers Guild
The state of Massachusetts just witnessed a three-way Alliance between safety industry agencies and the state’s craft brewing industry. This collaborative relationship aims to foster safety and health practices and programs for workers.
The state of Massachusetts is working to make its workplaces safer, especially for workers in the craft brewing industry. An Alliance was agreed upon by three parties: the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Massachusetts Area Offices (Boston North, Boston South, and Springfield), the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards/OSHA Consultation (DLS), and the Mass Brewers Guild (MBG).
The goal of the Alliance is for the three parties to foster safety and health practices and programs to improve American workplaces. Specifically, they will provide the Massachusetts brewing industry and the public with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect workers by minimizing hazards in the industry and to understand the rights of workers and responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
Alliance participants also agree to meet the “Fundamental Requirements for OSHA Alliance Program Participants” and the “Guidelines for OSHA’s Alliance Program Participants: Alliance Products and Other Alliance Projects.”
The framework and objectives of the Alliance will use available data on injury, illness, and hazard exposure to identify areas of emphasis for Alliance awareness, outreach, and communication activities. It will also use member surveys to measure impact and success of its efforts. The two biggest areas the alliance aims to address within the brewing industry are 1) Raising awareness through outreach and communication and 2) training education.
The participants intend to work together to achieve the following objectives in the two areas:
Raising Awareness: Outreach and Communication
- To share information on OSHA’s National/Regional/Local Initiatives and opportunities to participate in initiatives and the rulemaking process.
- To share information on occupational safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers.
- To develop and communicate information on the identification and prevention of workplace hazards (using print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools, and OSHA’s, DLS’s and MBG’s web sites) to industry employers and workers.
- To provide free safety and health consulting using DLS OSHA On-Site Consultation Program to assist in addressing site-specific hazards at individual brewery locations.
- To encourage constituent employers to create site-specific safety and health programs that include OSHA’s Safe & Sound Campaign elements.
- To speak, exhibit, or appear at OSHA’s, DLS’s, or MBG’s conferences and local meetings.
- To convene or participate in forums, roundtable discussions, or stakeholder meetings on workplace hazards associated with the craft brewing industry including.
- To share information among OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professionals regarding the MBG and craft brewing industry and good practices or effective approaches through training programs, workshops, seminars, and lectures (or any other applicable forum).
- To encourage worker participation in workplace safety and health by increasing hazard awareness training and near miss reporting/training.
Training and Education
- To develop effective training and education programs for the craft brewing industry to promote understanding of workers’ rights, including the use of the OSHA complaint process, and the responsibilities of employers and to communicate such information to workers and employers.
- To deliver or arrange for the delivery of courses to OSHA compliance and consultation staff pertaining to brewery operations and equipment.
In the past, OSHA Alliances like this one have proven to be effective. An implementation team consisting of representatives from each participating party will meet one or two times every year to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the Alliance. The agreement will remain in effect for two years. For more information regarding the Alliance and its terms, see the U.S. Department of Labor’s article.