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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

Was There a Fatal Keg Explosion at Redhook Ale Brewery?

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reached a settlement with Redhook Ale Brewery following a fatal keg explosion at a facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in April. Redhook’s parent company, Craft Brew Alliance, has agreed to pay fines for citations issued by OSHA.

OSHA investigators determined that the explosion, which lead to the death of Ben Harris, 26, occurred while Harris was cleaning the keg. OSHA determined the explosion was caused by excess air pressure introduced to the keg from a cleanout line. The line did not have a proper regulator to limit the air pressure fed into the keg. OSHA cited a total of 14 safety violations, and Craft Brew Alliance has agreed to pay $44,000 in fines. Some of the fines were reduced following a hearing between Craft Brew Alliance and OSHA.

“The citation issued in connected with the death of the workers was not changed,” said OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald. “That penalty was not reduced.”

Ignorance of OSHA regulations is not an excuse for a fatal accident such as this.

“The Portsmouth brewery uses compressed air to push waste beer out of returned kegs prior to washing and filling,” said a statement released by the brewery. “The brewery believes it was operating safely because it has historically washed and filled only stainless steel beer kegs without incident.”

Contact our firm for a free consultation if you need assistance in filing for workers comp.

Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus workers comp lawyers.

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