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Breweries and Distilleries: Protect Yourself from Exposures with Personal Protective Equipment

By May 1, 2023October 30th, 2023Insurance

Workers in the brewery and distillery industries are commonly exposed to toxic chemicals, hazardous vapors and boiling water on a regular basis. Wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense when performing routine, yet dangerous brewing jobs. Still, many brewers are repeatedly cited for not providing proper PPE as required by OSHA.  

Although employers are responsible for providing PPE, employees have a responsibility as well—to wear it. The items mentioned here are common types of PPE for brewery and distillery operations.

Eye Protection

Safety glasses and goggles should have the following characteristics: 

  • Eye protection should have side shields or a wrap-around design to fully protect both eyes.
  • Eye protection should fit over prescription eyewear.  

Hand Protection

Gloves should be used for both chemical and nonchemical purposes. 

  • Assign gloves to specific tasks and label them accordingly to avoid cross-contamination. 
  • Do not use latex, vinyl or partially coated fabric gloves with chemicals.
  • Promptly replace gloves that have punctures, rips or cracks.


Clothing should cover the torso, legs and arms. It should protect the body from physical, thermal and chemical hazards. 

  • Clothing should be void of large tool loops that can catch on protruding devices such as valve handles. 
  • Clothing should be water- and chemical-repellent. 
  • Fabric should be light, breathable and easy to wash.


Proper footwear can protect feet and ankles from corrosive chemicals, hot fluids and physical injury. It should also have the following characteristics:

  • Steel reinforcement in the toe area
  • Ankle coverage
  • Slip-resistant soles

Other Protection

Hearing and respiratory protection may also be required for certain tasks. Each workplace should have specific programs in place for hearing and respiratory protection as recommended by OSHA’s 
Occupational Noise Exposure standard and Respiratory Protection standard, respectively. Consult with your employer if you have specific questions. 


Choosing the right insurance agent is one of the most important decisions you will make. The Turner Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, and we specialize in meeting the insurance needs of brewers, wineries, and distillers.

We understand the risks you face and offer custom insurance solutions that include General and Liquor Liability, Commercial Property and Auto, Worker’s Comp, Equipment Breakdown, Spoilage/Product Recall/Product Contamination, Tank Collapse and/or Leakage, and more.

Email Trevor Painter or call 864-400-3523 for a free review of your coverage.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice.