Confined spaces in craft brewing
What is the potential risk?
The fermentation processes used in brewing produce carbon dioxide gas, which can accumulate in confined spaces such as fermentation tanks, kegs, mixing tanks, and silos. This could create an oxygen-depleted environment that puts workers at immediate risk of death or serious injury if they attempt to enter.
Craft breweries are typically small independent businesses that produce specialty beer. Craft brewing is a growing industry in B.C. There have been documented incidents of worker injuries and fatalities as the result of entering confined spaces at craft breweries in B.C. and in other countries.
Workers at craft brewery operations performing a variety of tasks may be at risk of injury if they enter a confined space without following proper confined space policies and procedures.
What industries may be at risk?
- Beer making shop — retail
- Beer manufacture (mass production — non-retail)
- Alcoholic beverage manufacture
- Brewery (mass production — non-retail)
- WorkSafeBC webpage: Confined Spaces
How can I reduce the risk in my workplace?
As an employer, you need to know if there is the potential for the risk identified in this advisory to be present in your workplace. It’s your responsibility to regularly inspect your workplace, and to ensure that your safety procedures and practices control the risk. The following information highlights some of the sections of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation and Guidelines that are most relevant to this risk.
Part 9 of the Regulation requires that before a worker is required or permitted to enter a confined space, the employer must prepare and implement a written confined space entry program.
Additional sections of Part 9 require additional duties that the employer must perform in order to protect worker safety.
Where can I find resources?
You can access the following resources on worksafebc.com: