WorkSafeBC Offers New Safety Resources for Craft Breweries

Brittany Webster

The craft brewery industry in BC is booming, having tripled in size over the last decade. But as the industry grows, so do concerns about the health and safety of employees.

WorkSafe BC reports nearly 300 time-loss claims between 2008 and 2017, so to help reduce this number a guide, posters, and an informational video have been added to the health and safety resources.

Owner of Wheelhouse Brewing Co. in Prince Rupert, Craig Outhet, says the new resources are handy tools, especially for anyone who may just be getting started.

"We are a member of the BC Craft Brewers Guild, and WorkSafe BC had worked with members of the guild to create a handbook and those posters and materials, because I think a lot of people that have opened breweries and then come into the brewing industry, they don't have backgrounds in manufacturing. They didn't work in manufacturing industry before, they came from marketing or advertising or those kinds of backgrounds. Operating a manufacturing facility is new to them and so the fact that we can have some materials presented for us or prepared for us is super helpful."

The posters included in the new materials focus on two of the top health and safety concerns, the dangers of confined spaces and carbon dioxide in the manufacturing of alcohol.

Outhet says they have been lucky to not have any major incidents since their opening in 2013, in part to the equiptment that is used.

"The way our vessels operate are they have something called a C-I-P or a clean-in-place. So there's a spray bottle at the top of them so you don't need to enter the vessel at all. So just like some chemicals and a pump and that cleans it in place. So we certainly have some signs on tanks, talking about confined space and do not enter and danger, and that meets the requirements. And to be honest, we're fortunate that our equiptment means that we don't have to go inside them."

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