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Company: Long Trail Brewing Company
Location: Bridgewater Corners, Vermont
Industry: NAICS 312120, Breweries
Employees: 117 full-time workers at two locations, Long Trail (81) and Otter Creek (36)
In 2010, the Long Trail Brewing Company (Long Trail) earned recognition in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). This made Long Trail the first brewery in the state of Vermont to receive this award, which recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program, and only the third brewery in the country to achieve this status. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP is an achievement that singles out a worksite among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. In 2012, Otter Creek Brewing Company (Otter Creek), a wholly owned subsidiary of Long Trail, followed their parent company's example and raised the SHARP flag at their Middlebury, Vermont brewery. At the time of writing, Long Trail and Otter Creek are two of the three breweries in the United States actively participating in SHARP.
Founded in 1989, The Long Trail Brewing Company has strong roots in the state of Vermont and currently produces the number one selling craft beer in the state. In 2012, Long Trail produced approximately 130,000 barrels of four different brands of beer at its two locations, Bridgewater Corners and Middlebury, which are distributed and sold in 15 states in the northeastern United States. The company takes pride on its award-winning beers, constant innovation, industry-leading environmental initiatives, and maintaining a healthy and happy workforce.
Breweries are considered a high-hazardous industry as it is inherently fraught with multitudes of hazards. With the use of extremely hot liquids, pressurized tanks, caustic chemicals, fast moving machinery, frequently wet floors and fork-lifts weaving in and out of the production floor (just to name a few common risks), making beer can have safety risks which can be very dangerous if not controlled.
The company decided that if it was going to correct all of the safety issues within the plants, they would have to make an effort to develop a world-class injury and illness prevention program; one that would serve as a model for the industry. All of the safety procedures needed to run a safe facility directly linked every department in one or more areas, and Standard Operating Procedures were developed for each department. A safety manager was hired, along with 2 additional full-time employees to cover safety at both breweries. Also, a safety team was established where employee representatives from every department meet weekly.
According to Paul Murphy, Safety Manager for Long Trail and Otter Creek Breweries, "Implementing the injury and illness prevention program was like starting a separate company within the company. Its implementation had to be seamless and woven into the company's fabric." Mr. Murphy emphasized, "Unless there was buy-in from everyone in the company, it would not have been successful. Although there was a fair amount of reluctance at first, the company's entire culture and attitude towards workplace safety dramatically changed. Safety awareness now permeates every department in the company, right down to the sales force, who are required to sign a contract that prohibits talking on the phone while driving. As a result, most employees are reporting a much keener awareness of their safety outside the workplace as well." Murphy added, "And the impact can be felt on the bottom line as the capital investment in safety resulted in a more productive, more efficient, and healthier workforce."