6. Use proper first aid when incidental chemical contact occurs
Always consult the SDS for immediate first aid guidelines. Incidental caustic contact to skin needs to be neutralized quickly. Some people use beer to neutralize caustic, then rinse off thoroughly with water. For incidental acid, bleach or peroxide contact, rinse with water immediately. For any kind of eye contact with chemicals, irrigate with water and get immediate medical attention. Wearing safety glasses/goggles and gloves at all times when handling any chemical can prevent many of these incidents from happening.
7. Automate dispensing of chemicals
Automating chemical dispensing can greatly reduce and limit exposure of chemicals to employees and ensure the exact chemistry needed for every cleaning job. This increases employee safety while ensuring your chemical costs stay in line. Your chemical supplier should be able to offer you advice and help with dispensing solutions.
8. Take precaution when mixing chemicals by hand
Always mix chemicals to water — NOT water to chemicals! Add the chemicals gradually to avoid causing a dangerous chemical reaction. When mixing caustic powder into water, the starting temperature of the water will start to rise as the chemical is added. Added too quickly, it will boil out. NEVER MIX ACIDS WITH CHLORINE BLEACH as they can create a deadly chlorine gas. Stick to and implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cleaning and chemical use. Do not get creative with mixing chemicals without consulting your chemical supplier.
9. Cover the tank manway during CIP cleaning
When cleaning a tank with recirculation (CIP), make sure the tank manway is positioned to cover the opening. In-swing, manway door gaskets should be taken off and draped with the door swung inside the tank, covering the opening.
10. Burst rinse properly
Burst rinse for best water conservation and most complete rinsing action. Rinse for 30 to 60 seconds, drain and repeat until you get to neutral pH (7-8). Always rinse to a neutral pH. Use litmus paper, a pH meter or use phenolthalein. If it’s purple, keep rinsing.
This is a short list of some best practices in brewhouses today and is by no means comprehensive. If you are not sure where to start, ask your chemical suppliers to provide help and guidance. You do not have to do this on your own. Chemical suppliers will do site visits and can help identify areas to improve the overall safety of a brewery. We all want our breweries to be safe working environments. With state regulators and OSHA looking more closely at the craft brew segment, now is a perfect time to up our game when it comes to brewery safety.
Scott Jimenez is the director of sales at Zep Inc. Karl Ockert is a brewing consultant with Karl Ockert Brewing Services, LLC. For more information about Zep Craft Brewing Solutions, visit www.zepbrew.com.