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Microbrewery and Taproom Safety

May 2019

Breweries and taprooms have many of the same safety issues as restaurants and taverns, but with an industrial operation added into the mix. Yes, brewing beer is considered an industrial operation with all of the risks and hazards that go along with the process. Breweries are required to be in compliance with OSHA health and safety requirements and are subject to OSHA inspections.

Breweries and taprooms come in all sizes and levels of service, from a tasting room that is open only on the weekends, to a full-service restaurant and bar with live entertainment and a brewery operation. Responsible service and sale of alcoholic beverages come to mind immediately as a safety and training opportunity. Some states and municipalities require server training and even when they do not, staff should be well versed in their responsibilities. ICC’s On TAP server training is a valuable tool and is available to ICC insureds at no cost in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan.

As with all other operations that welcome the public, breweries and taprooms are subject to many of the same safety concerns. Lighting and interior/exterior walking surfaces can become hazardous when they are not maintained. Brewery operations add an extra level of risk due to consistently wet floors, chemical use, and industrial equipment. If tours are given, they should be done when the brewing area is not in use, has been cleaned and dried, and hazards are at a minimum. Areas should be marked off with caution paint or barriers, and tours should be conducted away from all brewing equipment and with the utmost care for the public.

Breweries should have safety programs linked to their standard operating procedures, provide ongoing training for brewery and service staff, and provide proper signage inside the brewery and in all areas of operation. Regular cleaning and maintenance of brewery equipment, chemical storage, and bar, dining, and restrooms are important for the safety of staff, as well as customers. Engaging employees in proper safety procedures and supplying personal protective equipment for the brewhouse and staff is all a part of providing a safe environment for staff and customers alike.

The Brewers Association and ICC’s own Loss Control staff are excellent resources for best practices and information to assist owners in maintaining a safe brewing and taproom operation.

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Microbrewery and Taproom Safety May 2019
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