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Winery Safety Risk Assessment

Even though a company may take every precaution to ensure compliance with OSHA workplace safety regulations, accidents can occur. After a winery experienced such an incident resulting in serious injury to one of their employees, they wanted a third-party consultant to conduct a safety risk assessment audit to see where improvements could be made. These risk assessments are designed to identify deficiencies in safety programs. In the winery’s case, given their financial and staffing limitations, they wanted not only to identify these issues, but to prioritize the risks and the required corrective actions. They contacted G2 for help.

What’s Involved in the Safety Risk Assessment Audit?

Our assessment took three days. It started with a series of interviews to address topics related to personnel, operations, programs, and the work environment. These types of discussions give us valuable insight into how the company prioritizes and practices safety. They also provide clues as to the culture of safety within the company. For example, are employees carefully trained or expected to figure it out on their own? Are they encouraged to report safety concerns, or expected to meet deadlines no matter what?

From there, we performed an onsite safety inspection to identify any hazards or potential hazards that required attention and action; this information also helps in the development of new safety programs. The thorough evaluation includes:

  • General Work Environment
  • Walkways
  • Elevated Surfaces
  • Exits
  • Electrical Elements
  • Fire Safety
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Machinery
  • Chemicals
  • And More

What Recommendations Were Provided Based on the Findings?

The winery’s lockout/tagout program required the most attention. While employees receive training on general procedures, they were not being properly trained on machine-specific protocols. We suggested specific training for each employee who accesses a particular machine, as well as unique procedures for each equipment type. Additional recommendations included:

  • Permit-Required Confined Space Entries: Confined spaces, such as tanks, storage bins, and silos, must require a permit for entry if there is the potential for someone to get trapped inside or if it contains a safety or health hazard. Signs should be posted outside these spaces to warn people of the dangers and the restrictions.
  • Machine Guarding: Safeguards must be in place around machinery parts that could crush, cut, burn, blind, or otherwise injure an employee.
  • Respiratory Protection: Dust, gas, fumes, or lack of oxygen, among other things in the air, can cause health problems over time. Workers exposed to those elements must wear respiratory protection.

While OSHA requires employers to develop and maintain a written energy control plan, machine-specific energy control (lockout/tagout) plans are not considered mandatory. (We consider it a best practice.) At the same time, OSHA requires that the procedures in the energy control plan must contain specific and detailed procedures for authorized employees to understanding how to control the types and magnitudes of hazardous energy that could be encountered when performing maintenance tasks.

Creating a Safer Workplace

With the information gathered in the safety assessment, the winery was able to create an action plan to address the most important safety concerns and, hopefully, prevent any future incidents. Many companies could benefit from a third-party safety risk assessment audit to ensure they are compliant with OSHA regulations and observing safety best practices to protect their employees. It’s a simple process, and it will help you create a safer workplace—which is, overall, a happier and healthier workplace. Contact us if you have any questions. We’re happy to help.

About the author: Noal Kraft
Noal is a Principal of G2 Consultants Inc. With over 27 years of professional experience in the Industrial Hygiene and Health and Safety industry. He has worked on thousands of projects throughout the U.S.