Two Employees Injured at Colorado Beer Brewing Plant

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, exists for a few reasons, one of which is to ensure the employers are maintaining safe and healthy work environment for their employees. In order to accomplish this goal, OSHA regulates employers and work environments and also provides training on workplace safety.

In July of 2010, exposure to hazardous substances at a Coors Brewing plant left two workers hospitalized. There was a leak in the ammonia system; more than a ton of anhydrous ammonia was released into the air as a result. Though the two workers who were exposed to the chemical were not seriously injured, they still required medical treatment.

Workplace accidents can be dangerous, especially if hazardous chemicals are involved. Specifically, anhydrous ammonia can be dangerous, even fatal, if large quantities of it are in the air. Though it is a colorless substance, it can cause burning in the eyes, nose, and lungs. In some cases, people who are exposed to the chemical can cough or choke to death.

As a result of the chemical exposure, OSHA cited MillerCoors, the company that owns the brewing plant, for violating federal law that requires employers to ensure workplace safety. Violations can be serious, especially if the employer knew about the hazard, and can cost companies thousands of dollars in fines.

In addition, the two employees who were injured may claim workers’ compensation. Though their injuries were not serious, the employees have hospital bills to pay and may have been unable to work while they were recovering. Workers’ compensation benefits can help injured workers financially until they are able to return to work.

Source: The Denver Channel online, “OSHA Proposes To Fine MillerCoors $63,500 For Ammonia Leak,” Kim Nguyen, 07 January 2011

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