Artisan Spirit: Summer 2014

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Page 87

SAFETY FIRST WRITTEN BY STEVEN SEIM

D

istilling safety rules, while simultaneously confusing and sprinklers drastically reduce the number of deaths related to occasionally boring, play a substantial role in ensuring a fire (almost to zero). If you bought your building and it came

distillery’s long life. Recently, Nicole Austin of Kings County with sprinklers already installed, however, you will have to verify Distillery hosted a panel on issues of safety and compliance that their density rating is high enough for the type of hazardous for running and working in a distillery. Panelists included Brad rating distilleries fall under. Storing high volumes of alcohol Emerick, a fire protection engineer in Denver, Ryan Hellman, an puts distilleries in a higher category of hazardous code, which OSHA compliance specialist, electrical engineer Steven Stretch, requires a higher density rating. engineer Michael Gillespie, and Scott Moore, an architect and

When designing the layout of a distillery, safety may not always

general contractor. The topics discussed included fire prevention, be at the top of the priority list next to function and ease, but conforming to the litany of codes that apply to distilleries, the clear pathways and clearly marked exits are important. Not safety of your workers, and how to train your staff in a way that only can they help customers and employees exit safely in an will help them take safety seriously.

emergency, but firefighters will be able to find their way around

Even though some of these rules feel more burdensome than quickly when responding at your location. If there are ways to helpful, Austin and the panel made it very clear that they exist rearrange any equipment to help, taking the time to do it now for a reason and it is the responsibility of every distiller to ensure may make the difference in helping to save your distillery in the their equipment, stock, and employees are prepared for any case of a disaster. circumstance.

FIRE PREVENTION

WORKER SAFETY Besides fire danger and helping to prevent damage, the panel

Oxygen, heat and fuel, all present in the same area, create a fire presented valuable information on how distillers can help train risk (Hint: that’s every distillery). During the distilling process, their staff to prevent injury or death by other means. Visually flammable gases evaporate into the air and can be unsafe if a inspecting equipment for cracks or leaks can prevent unexpected distiller is unsure of proper safeguards. Proper fire sprinklers vapors escaping their confines. Owners can also hard wire a vapor are going to be a must for the majority of distilleries. Following detector to a boiler. If the detector senses a dangerous situation, the rules comes with a perk as well: a fully-sprinklered building it can shut off the boiler, allowing precious extra seconds for doubles the amount of alcohol a distillery can store based on people to escape. international hazardous code.

During the panel, Austin reiterated that owners are primarily

Besides helping to protect valuable assets, data shows that responsible for fostering a culture of safety from the beginning

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