Craft brewers have found great success in Oregon, boasting 234 brewing facilities in 72 cities, and employing over 7400 workers. In addition to providing jobs, these companies have donated $2,450,000 back to their communities. But, we wonder – what about safety in these workplaces?
As part of this week’s Central Oregon Safety and Health Conference, Deschutes Brewery opened up their doors one evening for safety and health professionals to get a “behind-the-scenes” look at this Bend brewing facility, which employees 243 of their 522 employees. I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Jervis, Deschute’s Safety Manager. Mike shared how Deschute’s makes safety a top priority and recognizes it as a core value and part of their workplace culture. Like most breweries, the most common workplace safety and health hazards relate to work that is done in the warehouse – those related to ergonomics and moving equipment like forklifts; hazards associated with confined space entry; and dermal exposures to sodium hydroxide, a widely used cleaning agent .
Mike is rather humble, but others are eager to talk about what an important safety communicator he is both within and outside his own organization. While continuing to push Deschutes to be a leader in safety and health, Mike also actively provides help to other brewers – many who have not yet attained the safety record found at Deschutes. He also helps coordinate industry-related information at regional and state-wide conferences, such as helping to provide a craft brewing track as part of the Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH)
We acknowledge Mike, his employer – and all the other safety and health professionals working to make this industry a safe place to work for its employees.
Fast Growing Brewers Struggle with Worker Safety (2013 article in Chicago Times)
Brewers Association Safety Resources
OcchealthSci Topic: Manufacturing and General Industry