Beer line injury highlights dangers in hospitality industry

Date: May 01, 2014

A worker recently injured while cleaning beer lines at work has sparked a safety alert from WorkCover NSW.

The employee, who was experienced in beer line cleaning, suffered burns to their face, permanent loss of vision in one eye and significant impairment in the other eye, according to the authority.

Degassing an empty keg and filling it with cleaner is a common task across thousands of bars and restaurants around Australia. The keg would then be connected to the beer delivery system and this used to flush the lines clean.

WorkCover NSW said there was an issue when the worker tried to pour the undiluted cleaner into the keg using a funnel connected to a keg coupler. By mistake, the keg was still pressurised when the handle was depressed and this resulted in the cleaner blowing back into the worker’s face and eyes.

Despite being experienced in cleaning the lines, the worker failed to wear personal protective equipment and may not have understood the risks of working with the chemicals involved.

WorkCover NSW urges employers to review current processes and training schemes with employees who are exposed to cleaning chemicals.

This worker could be eligible to claim compensation back for their injuries suffered and subsequent loss of income. This would depend on circumstances which lawyers can discuss in more depth.

In this situation, anyone in the room is at risk from the chemicals and those people may not be wearing safety equipment so WorkCover NSW has highlighted some processes which should be part of any beer cleaning procedure.

  • Make sure any employee who is dealing with the chemicals knows the risks involved and is always wearing appropriate clothing and protection.
  • As this is a common, but complex process, employers should put employees through rigorous training and testing. The task should never be attempted while working alone.
  • Store any cleaning chemicals in safe and secure places to avoid misidentification and ensure they are kept in accordance with the supplier’s recommendations.
  • Have adequate first aid and assistance handy. This includes eye wash and shower facilities and access to emergency service numbers and poison help lines.

Employees injured at work are entitled to workers compensation. It is recommended that you contact a compensation lawyer who can advise you on how make your claim and assist you through the process.

These lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis so they can advise you on your chances for success free of charge – if they think you have a case, it’s completely up to you whether you engage their services.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.