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  1. #1
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    Redhook employee killed by exploding keg

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    PORTSMOUTH — A brewery worker died from injuries related to the explosion of a beer keg at the Redhook Ale Brewery Tuesday morning, said Portsmouth Regional Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Notis.

    The worker, who has not yet been identified, was a man in his 20s or early 30s, said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Achilles. According to the assistant fire chief, the employee had been pressurizing kegs with air as part of a cleaning process to remove residual beer from them.

    “The keg failed and exploded and he was injured by parts of the keg,” Achilles said.

    Firefighters were dispatched to the brewery, located 1 Redhook Way at the Pease Tradeport, at 7:06 a.m. for an initial report about a beer keg explosion which seriously injured the worker, said Achilles. Engine 3 was the first on scene and firefighters found the worker unresponsive, with a weak pulse, and located in an area with kegs, bottles and conveyor belts, said Achilles.

    Emergency medical technicians then arrived by ambulance from Station 2 and found the brewery employee in cardiac arrest, with chest and head injuries, Achilles said. He was transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital by ambulance, with what were initially described as life-threatening injuries.

    Achilles said the fire department notified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and it was his understanding that Redhook management is being “very cooperative.”

    Redhook spokesman Ted Lane said the “hearts” of brewery managers “go out to the family members” of the employee. He said Redhook is conducting its own investigation to find out what happened.

    Police Lt. Russell Russo said officers were dispatched to the brewery for a police investigation. Federal officers from the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also responded because the accident was related to an alcohol-related facility.

    The brewery pub and all tours were cancelled Tuesday.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  2. #2
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    That sucks! What a horrible way to go out......
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  3. #3
    Self-defeatist
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    Link to the article?
    I'm covered in beer.

  4. #4
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    Link
    Quote Originally Posted by CLONG View Post
    Link to the article?
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    PRETENDURO
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    Holy crap! I had no idea the brewing industry was so dangerous! I lift my beer as a salute to that man who sacrificed his life for my drunk ass.
    QUOTE from MTBR.COM: You have given Brewtality too much Reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later.

  6. #6
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    If I had to go out I wouldnt mind being killed by beer'
    But it diffenately sucks my condolences go out to his family

  7. #7
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    Heard this on the news yesterday, very sad to hear. I will continue to turn a suspicious eye to my corny kegs, that's for sure.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
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    RIP fellow beer guy. Freak accident.

  9. #9
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    I would like to know more about exactly what happened. Like if the ball lock blew, or what he was doing. RIP redhook dude.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    I would like to know more about exactly what happened. Like if the ball lock blew, or what he was doing. RIP redhook dude.
    Yeah, I wonder what the PSI was in the keg when it blew. I've cleaned hundreds of kegs but we only use about 20-30 psi to force chems out and pressurize the keg. THose things are rated for much more than that. Maybe the keg was damaged.

  11. #11
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    Ben Harris, age 26...R.I.P.

    I am sure there will be an extensive investigation, both by the ATF, and Redhook.
    I would imagine, this was a fluke accident, possibly contributed to a faulty keg.

    My heart, and prayers go out to the family.
    Last edited by JFryauff; 04-25-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Well that sucks. Condolences to the family and coworkers.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the link. I've used a similar keg washer hundreds of times, using air pressure to purge old beer and rinse water. Freak accident for sure.
    I'm covered in beer.

  14. #14
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    Would take mucho psi to burst open a keg. Makes you want to know the details of exactly what he was doing. Tragic

  15. #15
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    Ugh...the story just gets worse!

    Ben Harris was a newlywed and expectant father who was loved by many, his wife said Wednesday, a day after his death. [...] “He was a man of true integrity and deeply loved by many,” she wrote. “He was also looking forward to being a father.” A fund has been established to benefit his unborn child.

    Monetary donations to benefit Ben and Alysha Miller Harris’ unborn baby can be made to the Alysha Miller Harris Baby Fund. Specify the fund’s name and send to TD Bank, 20 International Drive, Portsmouth, NH 03801. For information, call 430-3812.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  16. #16
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    Official release from Redhook:

    We are grateful for the outpouring of support that we’ve received from the community after Tuesday’s tragic accident in Portsmouth. Ben Harris had been a member of the Redhook family for more than seven years, first working at the Cataqua Pub and most recently as part of our brewing operations team. His wife, Alysha Miller, is expecting his child and is also part of the Redhook family as a server in our pub. Ben was a wonderful man, a dedicated member of our team and a friend to all who knew him. We are heartbroken by this tragedy and are grieving with the family.

    We would like to thank the community and the media for respecting the family’s privacy as well as that of our employees as we mourn together. We would also like to thank our family of employees for their support in this process, as this is an extremely difficult time for all of us and our top priority is taking care of Ben’s family and our team.

    There is an assessment underway to reveal exactly what happened Tuesday morning. Although the investigation is still in process, there are several facts that we can confirm:

    The accident was caused by an exploding plastic keg ;
    The keg was not owned or used by Redhook Brewery or any other CBA brewery;
    It is normal protocol for the brewery to receive kegs that aren’t ours from time to time;
    Ben was handling the keg at the time it exploded.

    It is extremely important to us that we understand exactly what happened before we share additional information about this tragedy. There is an evaluation in progress and we can assure you that we will issue further information when the report is complete.

    In the meantime, we ask for continued thoughts and prayers for Ben’s family, friends, and everyone touched by this accident.

    The family asks that memorial contributions be made to: The Alysha Miller Harris Baby Fund c/o TD Bank, 20 International Drive, Portsmouth, NH, 03801, (603) 430-3812.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  17. #17
    Beer Me!
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    Yikes, that is heartbreaking. Thoughts and Prayers go out to the wife and future child for sure.

  18. #18
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    Latest statement from Redhook:
    On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, a tragic accident at the Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth, NH claimed the life of Ben Harris, a member of the Redhook Brewery team. Craft Brew Alliance is conducting an internal investigation and is cooperating with OSHA as the organization conducts its own investigation. Although we are still awaiting conclusions from OSHA, we recognize the importance of sharing information about the accident with the brewing industry in hopes of preventing similar accidents. This investigation has been especially difficult because there were no witnesses to the accident. However, based on our investigation and findings thus far, we currently believe that:

    -The plastic keg involved in the accident was delivered to the brewery as part of a delivery of empty keg returns.
    -The plastic keg involved in the accident was not owned by us.
    -It is common for the Redhook Brewery and others in the industry to receive a certain number of other brewers’ kegs as part of deliveries of empty keg returns.
    -CBA does not use plastic kegs.
    -We believe that Ben Harris may have been engaged in performing the process of emptying the keg prior to stacking it on a pallet.
    -As with our own kegs, when we receive kegs that we do not own we often empty them using compressed air and a Sankey tapping device.
    -We empty the kegs in order to increase their stability when stacked on a pallet prior to being returned to their respective owners.
    -For years, this process for emptying kegs has been performed without incident in a substantially identical manner at the Redhook Brewery and all of our other breweries.
    -The explosion split the keg around the middle seam where the two halves were joined.
    -The explosion split the keg into two pieces.
    -The keg was not clearly marked with a manufacturer’s name.
    -We have contacted the company that we believe manufactured the keg.
    -Material portions of OSHA’s investigation and findings will be publicly available after OSHA has completed its investigation.

    Unfortunately, we have not yet determined the exact cause of the failure and we do not know definitively what caused the plastic keg to explode. As a result, we have invested in an independent investigator to assess the keg and equipment involved in the accident. Because there were no witnesses, we may not be able to ascertain the exact cause, even after we have completed our investigations.

    In the meantime, CBA remains committed to safety at all four of our brewery locations. Our safety manager and local safety coordinators continue to hold monthly on-site meetings with each of our brewing and operations teams. Ongoing training remains a top priority for our team. Additionally, we are making capital investments this year to improve safety as a result of our annual safety audits. We are also retaining outside safety consultants with brewing industry experience to perform safety audits beyond those we had planned prior to this accident. We will continue to work towards improving safety at all brewery locations to ensure that we provide the safest work environment possible for all of our employees.

    As our team continues to grieve with the family after losing Ben, we want to thank the craft beer and brewing communities for the continued support and patience during this difficult time. In the coming weeks, our team will brew & release a memorial beer to celebrate Ben’s life and help support his family. More than anything, we hope that the information we’re able to share in the wake of this tragic accident contributes to greater awareness about safety and to safer work environments throughout the industry.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  19. #19
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    This belongs in movie quotes. "it was the drink that killed him" Mrs Doubtfire

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbfyrefyter View Post
    That sucks! What a horrible way to go out......
    Potentially a great way if this person had an engulfing love for producing beer.

  21. #21
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    Update - OSHA fines

    OSHA Fines Redhook in Keg Explosion Accident - ProBrewer Interactive

    $60,000 + in fines.
    Very sad. I hope that some lessons are learned from the accident.
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  22. #22
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    I think something like 3 or 4 more breweries have reported issues with the exploding plastic kegs since, but no serious injuries thankfully.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  23. #23
    Beer Please!
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    no amount of fines will make up for that loss. Hopefully the safety issues have all been addressed.
    Ride Bikes, Drink Craft Beer, Repeat.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFryauff View Post
    I think something like 3 or 4 more breweries have reported issues with the exploding plastic kegs since, but no serious injuries thankfully.
    They need to employ some keg-bots to wash out these barrels.
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  25. #25
    Hi.
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    I heard industry-wide, breweries are moving away from plastic kegs. This has caused regular kegs to go on backorder (also related to the number of new breweries opening every month.)

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