Beverage Delivery » Beer Kegs

Delivering Beer Kegs

Employees repeatedly move full kegs of beer from a delivery truck to a hand truck. Product is moved from above shoulder height to approximately waist height. These tasks pose an increased risk of pain and injury and should be considered hazardous unless appropriate solutions are implemented.


Fig. 1: Two employees lifting the keg are safer than one.

Potential Hazard:

  • Heavy loads must be repeatedly lifted to move kegs around the truck, to move kegs from the truck to ground, to move kegs from the ground to hand truck and to position kegs at the customer site. These loads can be especially heavy with a full keg of beer weighing approximately 162 pounds. Continued lifting of items in this weight range is consistent with developing low back injury.

Possible Solutions:

  • If kegs must be lifted manually, use two employees whenever possible (Fig. 1). The use of two employees when using proper lifting techniques will generally reduce the hazard of any lift.

  • When using a low bay delivery truck, train employees to "walk" the kegs (using the edge of the keg) to the end of the bay or onto the toe plate of the hand trucks. "Walking" the second keg onto the first keg is another way to reduce lifting.

  • Minimize manual lifting of kegs whenever possible.

    • Use an articulated arm or other lifting mechanism to lower and position kegs or other heavy objects from the truck bed to the ground level or upper level of the dolly.

    • Investigate the use of a clamping device that allows the keg to be used as an integral part of the rolling operation. This type of device has been used to roll kegs off trucks or down stairs (Fig. 1a) or as a transport device (Fig. 1b).


Fig. 1a: Employee using clamping device to roll the keg off the truck.


Fig. 1b: Employee using clamping device to transport the keg.

Potential Hazard:

  • Frequent lifting and lowering of beer kegs involves torso bending. Frequent torso bending is consistent with developing low back injuries.

Possible Solutions:

  • Educate the employee on the basics of body biomechanics and the importance of maintaining the body in an ergonomically neutral position. Generally the torso should not be bent forward more than 6 to 10 degrees from vertical (Fig. 2) and reaches should not exceed 16 to 17 inches.

  • Install a lift gate on the trucks so the kegs can be transported to the gate and lowered to a height for unloading which will not require excess torso bending. Generally lifts should be performed at about belt height.

  • Fig. 2: Good position with minimum torso bending.

    Use sheet metal or other low friction material for the flooring of delivery trailers so the kegs can slide. Experiment using a hook to pull the kegs into position. Using a hook could minimize the amount of torso bending that is necessary to move kegs within the delivery trailers.

  • Develop a hand truck with an adjustable nose plate so loading and unloading can always be done at about waist height.

  • Work with customers to develop storage areas and tap cooler units that do not require using frequent torso bending or lifting beer kegs.

Fig. 3: Pushing the keg above the shoulders.

Potential Hazard:

  • The employee throws empty kegs up into the truck after removal from the customers premises. This involves a pushing motion from a position above the employee's shoulder (Fig. 3). Pushing items in the weight range of an empty keg can lead to shoulder and upper arm injuries.

Possible Solutions:

  • Educate the employee on the basics of body biomechanics and the importance of performing lifting, pushing and pulling tasks at approximately mid chest level or lower.

  • Provide a lift platform on the truck so the kegs can be raised without the employee lifting above mid chest level.