The Most Important Key to Workplace Safety

Close up of unrecognizable worker wearing protective gear while operating equipment at chemical factory and opening vault

There are several practical ideas that can be low to no cost for your brewery which can help your various safety programs. During the 2023 Craft Brewers Conference, Ska Brewing‘s Jeff Mason, the Durango, Colorado brewery’s HR & Plant Manager, shared many ways to create a simple workplace safety program including the four key elements needed.

“Creating a successful safety program can seem daunting,” he said. “Complying with OSHA regulations helps build the framework for a robust safety program. There are some cultural and behavioral things you can do to improve your brewery’s safety.”

“This all sounds intimidating, really hard, but it’s not. It’s actually not. All employers, regardless of size, must maintain some form of four-point workplace program.”

READ MORE: Humble Beginnings: Thibodeau Shares Key Organic Growth Points Over Ska’s 25 Years

Here’s the four core elements of the four-point workplace program that Mason shared:

  • Management starts it off: Top management needs to commit to establishing, maintaining, and improving the program continually and provide any necessary resources. “That’s probably one of the most important things is that it’s starting at the top,” Mason said. “You have to have the support of the ownership. You don’t want to have something where you’re asking your employees or requiring them to wear some sort of PPE — hearing protection and eye protection — in certain areas of your brewery but then the owners walk in and just don’t wear any of that because they own the place. That is going to break your system down.”
  • Worksite analysis: It is your responsibility to know what items or substances you have in your workplace that can hurt your workers. Mason said the greatest resource for all this is the OSHA Small Business Handbook. It includes key documents and recordkeeping files including SDS (Safety Data Sheets); CSE (Confined Space Entry); LOTO (Lockout/); EAP (Emergency Action Plan); ECP (Exposure Control Plan) along with a Motorized Equipment Certification Program.
  • Hazard prevention and control: “Once you have identified your existing and potential hazards, you are ready to implement the systems that prevent or control these hazards,” Mason explained.
  • Training: An effective accident prevention program requires proper job performance from everyone in the workplace, whether it is an employee, supervisor, or manager.

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