When a homebrewer has aspirations of turning a hobby into a career one of the last things that probably comes to mind is safety. The closest thing they typically encounter that would be considered a safety issue is exploding bottles from over carbonation. I’m not saying that isn’t a real safety issue, because it is. I’ve had my own experiences with those. I still found broken glass, by stepping on them barefoot, even when I sold that house 6 years later. I’m just saying that homebrewers don’t really have a need for a real safety plan.
Safety is a very serious and very real concern working in a manufacturing brewery that is surrounded by things that can cause trips, slips, cuts, burns, poisonings and death. It wasn’t until I attended a seminar at the 2015 Craft Brewers Conference that I started to take safety seriously.
In the talk a number of operations managers—a position I held—from a number of much bigger breweries opened up the floor to questions. In pouring came a number of safety related questions. One after one operations managers from Three Floyds, Victory, Allagash and Cigar City provided basic procedures that any brewery, of any size, could easily implement. Safety glasses, rubber gloves when handling chemicals, proper footwear and much more easy, cheap procedures we’re listed off. I put my pen into overdrive on the conference provided notebook trying to keep up with these nuggets of information. I was convinced that I needed to create some sort of basic safety plan for our brewery and it needed to be done very soon.