Keg Handling Safety
Weighing in at upwards of 160 lbs., a full keg of beer poses a health and safety hazard for anyone attempting to manually handle beer kegs. Many bar and restaurant workers have learned firsthand the difficulty of manual keg handling, which is why keg handling safety is so important. Beer distribution companies would agree that delivery operations can NO LONGER manually handle kegs. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) a full beer keg is too heavy to be safely carried or lifted by one person without risking serious injury. As with all potentially dangerous activities, knowing the risks associated with keg handling and having the right tools to do it safely is essential.
Keg Handling Risks
- Overextension: Attempting to lift or carry a full keg without proper training or equipment can lead to serious strain injuries, particularly in the lower back. Even when two people are carrying a keg, there is still a risk that one person will lose their grip, forcing the other to carry the entirety of the weight. For these reasons, properly handling and lifting equipment is essential.
- Repetitive strain injuries: Long-term injury can result from continually attempting to move kegs without proper ergonomic equipment. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is one of the most common occupational diseases identified in restaurant and liquor retail employees.
- Drops: Manually or improperly lifting a keg can lead to drops which can potentially cause broken bones and permanent disfigurement. Make sure all kegs are properly secured when lifting them using approved ergonomic equipment.
- Slips and falls: Environmental hazards such as dust, clutter and — particularly in the restaurant and bar industry — wet floors, can lead to slips and falls when handling kegs or other heavy loads. Be sure to keep your work area clean, dry and clutter-free at all times to prevent on-the-job accidents.
The Importance of Ergonomic Equipment
OSHA considers the repetitive manual handling of beer kegs a hazardous activity with increased risk of pain and injury. Furthermore OSHA recommends minimizing the manual lifting of kegs whenever possible as the continued lifting of items in this weight range is associated with the development of lower back injuries. Considering the staggering costs of workplace injuries, why risk the health of your employees by continuing to manually handle kegs? Keg handling safety should be a focus for all companies that transport kegs.
General Manager, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company