7 Important Worker Safety Considerations in the Bar and Brewery Industry

7 Important Worker Safety Considerations in the Bar and Brewery Industry

Workers can be exposed to multiple hazards in this industry. Learn how to mitigate the risks and keep them safe.

Brewing wouldn’t top the list of any “most dangerous hobbies” list, but there are still plenty of risks associated with the beer brewing and bar industry. Health and safety are important and should be taken seriously if you want to protect your employees from harm.

How to Keep Your New Bar and/or Brewery Safe

Workplace incidents can have an enormous impact on injured workers, co-workers and their families. Incidents can also be financially devastating, but you can avoid them with these tips.

1. Delegate Roles and Responsibilities

Everyone has a role to play when it comes to health and safety. Before opening your brewery or bar, create a policy that discusses safety roles and responsibilities for employers, supervisors and workers. A health and safety program is necessary if you want to manage safety risks.

2. Manage Health and Safety Risks

There are three steps to managing health and safety risks: identify the hazard, assess the risk and control the risk. Here’s how you’ll know if you’re taking enough steps to prevent a hazard:

  • Identifying the Risk: You can prevent workplace incidents by observing how your workers perform a task, what equipment they’re using and if the task or equipment used requires a safer layout or condition. For example, is the area well-lit? Is it too humid?
  • Assessing Risks: Once you’ve identified the hazard, you need to assess the risks associated with them. Examine how likely an incident could occur and what could happen if said incident occurs. Assign a risk rating for each task from low to high.
  • Controlling Risks: Once you’ve assessed each risk, you need to come up with ways to control them. In a best-case scenario, you’ll be able to remove hazards, but if you can’t, consider changing the work environment, retraining staff or wearing safety equipment.

After coming up with a plan, be sure to monitor your risk controls, so you can improve them if they’re inefficient or require change. Record your findings via a risk assessment by noting the hazard, the number of people harmed and what risk controls were previously in place.

3. Address Common Safety Hazards

Bars and breweries can be hazardous places to work, even if they don’t appear to be at first glance. There are 23 total safety hazards you need to address before setting up shop:

  1. Lifting, Pushing, Pulling or Carrying Items
  2. Work Posture and Repetitive Movements
  3. Slippery Surfaces
  4. Working at heights
  5. Ladders
  6. Cluttered Areas
  7. Confined Spaces
  8. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  9. Steam, Boiling Liquids and Hot Surfaces
  10. Hazardous Chemicals
  11. Flammable Chemicals
  12. Dust
  13. Unguarded Machinery
  14. Troubleshooting, Setting Up, Cleaning and Servicing Machinery
  15. Broken Glass
  16. Delivery Operations
  17. Mobile Equipment
  18. Noise
  19. Compressed-gas cylinders
  20. Working Alone or in Isolation
  21. Impairment
  22. Workplace Violence
  23. Bullying and Harassment

While breweries are typically more hazardous than bars, poor food hygiene can cause irreparable effects on your business. Remember that every health and safety risk should be identifiable to your staff and have a risk control in place to prevent or reduce future incidents.

4. Provide Health and Safety Training

Employers should conduct health and safety training during orientation and ongoing training throughout the employee’s tenure. They should know that they shouldn’t perform a task they weren’t trained to do safely and to ask questions if they aren’t sure how to perform a task.

It’s the employer's responsibility to talk to employees about their rights and responsibilities, workplace safety rules, potential bar or brewery hazards and what to do if an incident occurs. They should show them how to locate first aid facilities and how to report an illness or injury.

5. Assign a Health and Safety Supervisor

Every brewery or bar should have a health and safety supervisor on duty at all times. If the person is directing another worker, they’re a supervisor and are therefore responsible for the health and safety of your company’s employees. Make sure they’re trained in first aid.

6. Learn to Conduct a Workplace Inspection

It’s better to prevent incidents before they occur, so commit to performing workplace inspections at regular intervals, preferably once a month. At the same time, workplace inspection is an ongoing task. Don’t wait to fix the problem if you suspect an issue or risk could escalate.

The health and safety supervisor on duty should conduct the inspection using a checklist, like this one from WorkSafeBC. When performing the inspection, ask yourself if workers are taking necessary precautions, whether they’re following safety procedures, and if they have concerns.

Here are a few examples of what to inspect when you get up and running:

  • Are workers washing their hands before touching consumables?
  • Are mill guars and gain-augers in place and fastened?
  • Are CO2 monitors in place, calibrated and working efficiently?
  • Are workers lifting heavy objects, like kegs, safely?
  • Are workers wearing proper safety equipment, like goggles?

If you’re loading or unloading equipment, you need to pay attention to the outside premises and dock at all times. You’re responsible for any incident that occurs in and around the property.

7. Know What to Do During an Emergency

We don’t like to think the worst can happen, but you need to have an emergency response plan if it does. All workplaces must meet first aid requirements, but these requirements change (i.e., level of first aid certification and transportation) depending on the number of workers on shift.

It’s important to schedule and attend regular health and safety meetings to keep your info up-to-date. However, there are a number of health and safety protocols that won’t change.

For example, what you do before an incident occurs will often stay the same. You’ll typically list all possible events, identify major consequences with each event, and determine what necessary measures to deal with to recover from said consequences, like first aid.

However, the severity of the incident will determine your next steps. If a worker cuts their finger, they may need a bandaid, stitches or a full reattachment and Worker’s Compensation.

Preparing for each event separately will minimize injuries and damages, but it’s a good idea to practice what to do if an event occurs. You may feel too frazzled to act at a moment's notice.

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