As far as providing an actual perspective of where brewers are incurring claims, burns from the boil overs are the most commonly unreported injuries. Toxic fumes from cleaning/sanitizing the tanks are the most deadly. Forklift operations need improvement and cause the greatest property damage, plus when used incorrectly, forklifts are quite dangerous. Hoses and lines on the wet floors create a constant flow of injuries from slips and falls. Our distillery clients understand that they deal with a much degree of combustibility in the production of higher strength alcohol. Insurance companies treat them a little bit differently as they are more concerned about fires. Upon request, we also can provide separate guidelines on hiring good employees, OSHA Compliance and creating a “Safety-oriented” work environment.
With just minor research on brewery accidents, here are some of the most traumatic incidents in recent history. Out of respect for the deceased and the families of the deceased, I will not add commentary to how these accidents can be prevented or possibly could have been prevented. However, we all want to learn from the tragedies, if we can, right?
Redhook Brewery - May 4, 2012 (source: NPR.org)
The accident that killed Redhook Brewery worker Benjamin Harris shocked New Englanders. At seven o’clock on a Friday morning, the 26-year old newlywed and father-to-be was doing a routine task at the Portsmouth plant–pumping a plastic keg full of compressed air so that he could clean it. The keg exploded, mortally wounding Harris in the chest and head. The keg/container apparently didn’t even belong to Redhook, but the employee was helping a customer.
Calhoun’s BBQ & Brewery – 2009 (Source: Reuters, July 12, 2013)
Welder Mark Moynihan crawled down a narrow tube into a space the size of a car interior to seal the crack in the fermentation tank at Calhoun's Bar-B-Q & Brewery in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The space was oversaturated with oxygen. He lit his torch, and a flash-fire erupted. His hair and clothing disintegrated instantly.
Moynihan, a contractor for the craft brewery, dragged himself up the tube and out of the vat while still on fire, suffering serious burns over much of his body. He died 75 days after the 2009 accident.
Ballast Point Brewing Company – July 2009
Two workers were burned in separate incidents at Ballast Point Brewing Co in San Diego in July 2010 and August 2010. Boil overs.
Corona Brewery - 06/21/2013 (Source: NFPA)
Seven workers die in Confined Space Accident at Corona Brewery. In April, seven workers were killed in a tank that was undergoing maintenance and cleaning at a plant in Mexico City operated by Corona beer maker, Grupo Modelo. It is believed that four victims were maintenance contractors and three victims were other Modelo employees. There are few details available on the incident. It is speculated that the deaths were due to “unspecified toxins” and that the three Modelo employees had entered the tank in an effort to rescue the other four contract employees.
Stone Brewing Company – August 2014
A 27-year-old man was killed in a forklift accident at the Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido Saturday, officials confirmed. The fatal industrial incident – which occurred while the man was on the job -- happened just before 5 p.m. at the brewing facility.
According to a report released Sunday by the county medical examiner’s office, Courtright was operating a forklift when, for unknown reasons, the machine rolled.
Officials say Courtright sustained fatal injuries to the chest. He was transported to Palomar Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Edge Brewing Company – July 13, 2015
Kerry Thomas, the head brewer at Edge Brewing Co., was burned Friday after a kettle boiled over at the company’s Boise brewery.
Thomas suffered second-degree burns to 30 percent of her body, her husband, Cory Thomas, said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. The burns extended down her right arm from her shoulder down to her foot, along with other places on her torso, he said.
The reality is that brewery business has inherent risk and here at American Brewery Insurance we want to ensure your brewery is as safe as possible. Contact Us today at [email protected]