Confined spaces are some of the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening work environments at breweries, however, it is often overlooked as it is not an everyday occurrence. Entry into any confined space presents many inherent dangers and should not be taken lightly. Proper management of confined spaces in the brewery can prevent serious injury or death. Employers and employees must work together to assure a safe workplace. Employers must perform workplace hazard assessments to identify confined spaces and then develop engineering controls, safe work practices and provide training and equipment to safely manage confined spaces. Employees have the responsibility to conduct themselves in a safe manner according to the equipment and training they have received.
The Brewers Association has written a Best Management Practice Guide for Confined Space to communicate the importance of dealing with confined spaces.
What confined spaces typically exist in a brewery?
- Bright tanks
- Grain bins
- Mash tuns
- Yeast propagation tanks
- Liquor tanks, and
- Trailers used for fresh or spent grain.
In addition, larger breweries may have:
- Sump pits
- Utility vaults
- Water treatment tanks, and
- Other confined spaces.
What are the dangers in these confined spaces?
During the fermentation process, a lack of oxygen can occur. There may be a possibility for dangerous levels of carbon dioxide to be present. This can cause an exposed employee to collapse – creating an emergency situation. Forced ventilation can also cool a vat down faster, reducing the downtime before the vat can be entered for inspection, cleaning, or maintenance. The atmosphere inside the vat remains stable by continually forcing fresh air in during the entry procedure.
How can Allegro Industries assist breweries in creating a safe working environment?
We offer numerous ventilation solutions for confined spaces including the brewery industry!