Denver and Colorado in general are known to produce high-quality beer and lots of it. The number of craft breweries in the state is significantly higher than many other states and Coloradoans take pride in being known for their beer. Unfortunately, all of those craft breweries also means that there is the potential for a lot of people in Colorado to be injured, as craft breweries have on average four times as many federal safety violations as larger breweries. While there were only four deaths reported between 2009 and 2012 at craft breweries, many people suspect that serious injuries just aren’t reported.
Many of these workplace accidents are just that, accidents, but just because an employee suffers a no-fault work injury does not mean that he or she should not get workers’ compensation.
Many of these smaller breweries are not intending to create unsafe work environments, but it seems that many of them take on brewing without complete knowledge of how to handle the risks associated with mass production. Whether it is an unfamiliarity with certain chemicals or industrial procedures, a craft brewer must be able to protect its employees. Some see the problem as trying to meet growing demand for craft beer has forced brewers to make beer faster and on larger scales, which means that safety has fallen by the wayside.
Colorado beer is excellent and the state has a long tradition of creating some of the finest brews, but its smaller breweries must also step up to keep their workers safe.
Source: Reuters, “Insight: Fast-growing U.S. craft brewers struggle with worker safety,” M.B. Pell, July 12, 2013