View Full Version : Be Careful

09-02-2011, 09:29 AM
Just left the ER after sustaining 2nd degree burns on my chest and abdomen from a hot liquor mishap. Hate to be a walking public service announcement, but BE CAREFUL!!! Regardless of experience, this is a dangerous line of work. (P.S., still love it, and wouldn't trade it for another career). Not sure when I'll brew my next batch. Even with the bandages and dressing, that hot steam is KILLING me!!!!

10-05-2011, 03:14 AM
Good to hear you're ok! Care to share some insight into how it happened?

11-10-2011, 07:50 AM
Glad to hear your ok.

I'm curious what many of you keep in your first aid kit for burns.

A suggestion: Check with your doctor, make sure you don't have any allergies to the medication and get a prescription for silver sulfadazine (AKA sulfa silvadine). Keep in withing reach at the brewery. It is a miracle burn cream used in emergency rooms and on some paramedic rigs. If you put it on immediately after the burn occurs, it can significantly reduce the impact of the burn and make it heal much, much faster. The sooner you get it on, the less burn you will have (minutes count here). I keep some in my kitchen and it has save me and my wife many times. It may cause a very bad allergic reaction so CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST. It is not very expensive and you can get a giant tub of it from a pharmacy.

It might not be a bad idea to check with your doctor or better yet an ER doc (they deal with burns every day) on how best to immediately treat a stem or liquid burn. There are many techniques out there and it is the kind of injury that may have some very specific kind of immediate treatment regimen to do before you go to the er. With burns in general, you want to get the heat out asap - so thing like immersing it in cold water are usually best, however, there may be something else that will work better for burns with sugar water (wort).

Good luck!

Zucker Bee
11-10-2011, 08:13 AM
It happened to me too. Fell off the platform while backing off from the boiler and I'm still suffering from torn ligaments after 4 years. I've burned all skin on my belly, chest and lost a nipple too (LOL!)

When you burn yourself, apply cold water, but not for too long: it creates a cold spot in your body and when you go to the hospital for treatment and you remove the wet bandages, the blood rushes back to the spot and believe me, it burns way more than the initial burn. I swear: I had hallucinations of Hell fire while as was waiting on the stretcher. Not cool.

Since then, I force my brewers to wear a long apron and gloves as soon as we fire up the kettle.

11-10-2011, 08:47 AM
Second Silvadine cream. Parts of my skin peeled off my arm and leg 3 times, the doc said just keep slathering the cream on. I do not even have a scar.

12-10-2011, 03:24 PM
I have been burned on my stomach from a boiler over, fell off a ladder (bouncing off my kettle and taking a valve in the kidney on the way down), gotten caustic on my leg (unnoticed at first since my clothes were already soaked), and had an assistant get sprayed with 170+ degree caustic when an accident jarred a hard pipe in a CIP system (he banged into it when moving away from a failing TigerFlex hose!)... at another brewery that same guy had a steam pipe rupture near his face and burn his ear, including inside the ear canal!

Keeping good first aid equipment is ESSENTIAL as are regular first aid and safety discussions. Drench shower is important too (saved my guy from having a really bad time with that caustic)

12-10-2011, 08:50 PM
And people are surprised to hear that I don't like hot caustic? I won't even clean with hot PBW. Don't need to. Play with steam and you'll get burned. Many jobs have this sort of "danger". Brewing is not an inherently dangerous job. But I do think that mixing inexperience with brewing makes for higher levels of "accidents." I think accidents are preventable. They are the intersection of unpreparedness (many times brought on by inexperience) with bad opportunity. Spend some time thinking of ways to lower your risk, enhance the safety of your facility and implement new safe practices. For example, a boil-over probe that shuts steam when foam hits it is a cheap way to avoid boil-overs. Not only is this safer, but it keeps the hops in the kettle and in the end, you'll make better beer. Have your facility audited for safety. In many states OSHA will come out and do it for free. Ladders should never be used as a day-in, day-out mechanism to access anything. Handrails are essential on any stairs. Extension cords shouldn't be used day-in/day-out, either. Label your circuit breakers. Have emergency shutoff switches. Never, ever enter a confined space--like a tank. Have and maintain a First Aid kit. Wear steel-toed boots if you are working with kegs. Add slip-proof soles. Round off sharp corners and edges on equipment. Wear gloves, aprons, and safety goggles any time you are working with chemicals. Know and respect Murphy's law so you're prepared and not surprised (or unprepared) when it kicks in. Don't leave anything to chance. Know and maintain your equipment. Develop SOPs and plan your day. Geez, I could go on for a long time, but you get the picture. So much of this sounds like just common sense, but to many it's news. Don't get sucked in to "I'll just do this unsafe thing only this one time." Work safe all the time. Accidents are preventable. Happy and safe brewing to everyone!

01-05-2013, 10:49 AM
And people are surprised to hear that I don't like hot caustic? I won't even clean with hot PBW. Don't need to.

How do you clean things then? I've been using PBW (I make my own near equivalent) on account of not wanting to handle caustic and feel it is fairly safe to work with. If I'm going to be leaning over a lot of steaming PBW solution I wear a respirator, and safety glasses and gloves are my constant companions.

01-05-2013, 05:51 PM
Good precautions! Glad to hear that you are thinking ahead and planning for safe work. PBW does a decent job warm (100-120F). Just need to follow with an acid like Acid #5 to keep the beerstone away. Been using PBW this way for 10 years with no issues. Kettle might take a bit longer than fermenters, but we have it down now. And one of those "Stupid things brewer's should know" is that for minor caustic contact with skin, use a mild, food grade acid to neutralize. Beer being the one that's readily available in breweries!

02-11-2013, 01:27 AM
Just need to follow with an acid like Acid #5 to keep the beerstone away.

I've been using food grade citric acid at 20% (dry by weight in water) to complete my kettle cleaning. This also gets used as a final wash in the mash-tun as needed and less often in my fermenters as I can't see the visible signs that are so obvious in the kettle.

My PBW cleaning temp is 130F (55C).