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Southwest Ohio Tours: August 17-18, 2017

Aug 18, 2017, 15:51 PM by User Not Found
During Fall semester orientation week the ERC planned two interdisciplinary trips in Southwest Ohio to tour the Samuel Adams Brewery and the Hamilton Reclamation Plant.

Written by: April Johnson and Gordon Lee Gillespie

Samuel Adams Brewery

We visited the Samuel Adams Brewery in Cincinnati, OH on August 17, 2017. Before the site visit, I learned breweries are a burgeoning business. But because many of the small craft breweries being “mom and pop” operations, OSHA has increased its focus on the brewing industry. So I was especially interested in how Samuel Adams addressed occupational safety.


On the brewery property, all employees (and visitors) are required to remove all jewelry and wear PPE (personal protective equipment): bump cap and study, steel-toed, slip-resistant shoes/boots. In the high noise areas, hearing protection also is are required. During the tour, we noted the emergency exits and hazard signs were well-marked, and the brewery had a modern, well-maintained fire suppression system. One potential environmental risk is ammonia gas, a byproduct of the brewing process. Multiple ammonia detectors were seen throughout the plant in addition to several key personnel carrying monitors and alert devices on their belts. Strict housekeeping rules were in effect to assure the removal of clutter in most areas, clearing aisles and stairwells, and storing of equipment and supplies. A common hazard seen in the bottling plant area was broken glass on the floor, hence the need for proper shoes.  In accordance with OSHA standards, employees were trained on Lockout/Tagout procedures, confined space policy, and hazard communications. 


In addition to the brewing plant safety program, employees had access to a wellness program. The system “Virgin Pulse” included computer-based health and wellness training modules, blood pressure screening, and Fitbit tracking. Employees participating in the wellness program were eligible for a reduction in their insurance premiums. When the plant experienced 90 or 180 injury free workdays, employees plant-wide were awarded with flashlights, T-shirts, cases of beer, and/or steak dinners. 

Hamilton Reclamation Plant

We visited the Hamilton Reclamation Plant in Hamilton, OH on August 18, 2017. The plant opened in 1958 and is part of the city’s Department of Underground Utilities. There are two divisions at the plant: power plant and water reclamation (sewage plant). The Water Reclamation Division is responsible for treating wastewater delivered by the sewer infrastructure. According to their website, the plant removes 99% of the solid and organic matter from the wastewater. The plant processes approximately 80 tons of solid matter daily. The plant has a biological treatment capacity of 32 million gallons per day. 


In the first step of the reclamation (water treatment process), untreated wastewater called influent passes through an apparatus removing solid debris and floating material such as cloth, wood, plastic, and vegetable matter. Second, the wastewater passes through a grit removal system extracting solids such as sand, gravel, coffee grounds, and eggshells. The removed debris and grit material then go to the landfill. The third step allows sedimentation of the smallest solids; during this process grease and cooking oil are skimmed off the top for disposal offsite. The raw sludge is separated into components for compost or landfill. The compost materials are stabilized with lime for use on farms: Class A material similar to topsoil and Class B material which is federally regulated and requires authorized persons to apply. These materials are provided to farmers gratis and helps prevent the volume of solids transferred to landfills. The reclaimed water is further filtered to remove microscopic solids and sanitized through chlorination. This chlorine then must be removed before the water can be put into the Great Miami River during winter months; however, a percentage of chlorine remains in the water during summer months when the river is used for recreation. The percentage of chlorine remaining in the water is lower than that of the allowable limit for drinking water. 


Major occupational risks at the plant are exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas and exposure to contaminants on personal clothing. Sensors were seen to notify employees in the event of a toxic gas exposure. Employees also have access to two lockers each (1 for clean clothing, 1 for work clothing), showers, and washer/dryer for personal clothing.  

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