Craft breweries are on the rise in Texas and across the U.S., but like any other business, they are subject to OSHA health and safety standards. Below are six ways that craft brewery owners often violate OSHA standards.
First of all, OSHA has rules regarding confined spaces, which can include fermenters, silos and kettles. Owners may break these rules by, for example, having workers occupy the spaces for an extended period of time or failing to post warnings about the spaces.
Second, many breweries violate the general duty clause, especially when it comes to preventing ergonomic injuries. Workers must move kegs and lift sacks of grain, which can lead to back problems if they are not properly trained.
Many craft breweries use hazardous chemicals for cleaning and sanitation. The management of these chemicals falls under OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard, which many owners neglect. They may also neglect the lockout/tagout standard that’s meant to keep workers safe in the event that stored energy is unexpectedly released or starts up machinery.
Some breweries do not meet OSHA standards for hazard communication. For example, hazardous chemicals may not be adequately labeled. Lastly, there are often violations regarding the rule for eye and face protection. This can put brewery workers at risk when working around chemicals or boiling water.
Regardless of whether there were flaws in workplace safety, an injured employee at a craft brewery can usually file for workers’ compensation benefits. In Texas, private employers can choose whether or not to have workers’ comp insurance. To see if they have a valid case, victims may consult a lawyer who’s familiar with the workers’ comp program. The lawyer might even assist with mounting an appeal if the employer denies payment. Settlements are not possible in this state.