With the festive season underway, WorkCover has reminded hotel and club employers and workers to take care when using beer keg delivery systems and to closely follow manufacturers' instructions.
Acting general manager of WorkCover's Work Health and Safety Division Jodie Deakes said the Christmas and New Year periods were two of the busiest on the hospitality calendar.
“With so much activity happening in these workplaces, it can be all too easy to take shortcuts and overlook manufacturer warnings, inadvertently putting staff at risk of serious injury,” she said.
“People using beer keg delivery systems need to be appropriately trained, instructed and, in particular, supervised in operating procedures, to prevent over-pressurising.”
A tragic incident in October left a 23-year old man with severe injuries when a gas-pressurised beer keg ruptured at a club in the Newcastle region.
Deakes said it was equally important to ensure the equipment is regularly inspected and maintained to prevent any faults, malfunctioning or damage.
“Beer keg delivery systems involving the use of carbon dioxide (C02) or beer gas cylinders must have a regulator fitted to the cylinder, to limit the supplied pressure,” she said.
“There also needs to be a pressure relief valve fitted between the cylinder and the keg, to release the pressure in case of regulator failure. The pressure relief valve is usually incorporated into the regulator assembly, the keg tap, or both.
“Safety is everyone’s responsibility in the workplace – it’s a team effort. Everyone needs to be involved in workplace safety measures.
“At the end of the day we want everyone to work safely so they can return home safely.”
Deakes said private individuals who were hiring portable beer keg systems (party kegs) should also closely follow manufacturer instructions when using the equipment to avoid risk of injury.
WorkCover NSW has collaborated with the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) on the development of safety guidelines for cleaning beer lines and working around cellar trapdoors, which are available on the Workcover website and the AHA’s website.