Brewers Association (BA) Safety Ambassador Matt Stinchfield conducted a virtual training session with over fifty Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors and OSHA consultant personnel from Region I (New England) OSHA. Similar to the training Stinchfield conducted with the Denver and Englewood, Colorado offices, OSHA Region VIII, in April 2019 held at Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in Denver, this training is part of the continuing communication between the Brewers Association, OSHA regional offices, and state brewers guilds.
The training session consisted of an hour and a half of virtual classroom type instruction, interspersed with photos shot at Wachusett Brewing Co. in Westminster, Mass. and Harpoon Brewery in Boston, Mass. The photos re-enforced the material covered in class by allowing the inspectors the opportunity to see the equipment and processes involved. “The online platform allowed more attendees than would have been practical for on-site training,” said Stinchfield.
“OSHA inspectors are generalists, inspecting many types of facilities from day care centers to power plants,” Stinchfield continued. “This training allows OSHA inspectors to become familiar with the equipment and processes used to brew beer. The knowledge gained during the training allows OSHA to focus on the safety issues that are the most dangerous threats in brewing operations.”
“I think it went really well,” said Marvin Lewiton, Industrial Hygiene Supervisor, OSHA Consultation Program, OSHA Region I. “We educated a lot of folks on what happens in a brewery.”
Stinchfield also presented on October 5, 2020 at the Massachusetts Brewers Guild’s (MBG) Technical Brewing & Business Conference with a presentation titled “Safety is Fun and Loving.” The content emphasized the BA’s commitment to safety, including a briefing of free, helpful, safety resources for brewers, a demonstration of the hazard assessment process, and a reality check of some commonplace safety concerns for brewers.
MBG executive director Katie Stinchon, who fostered Stinchfield’s relationship with OSHA Region I, said, “Another instance where technology made things better. Got to find those silver linings where they land.”
Special thanks to Wachusett Brewing Co. and Harpoon Brewery for help in preplanning and providing photography.