Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Safety Similarities

Days 3 to 5 of our cellarhand training has been all about focusing on the key safety-related aspects of the winery. This kicked off with 2 days of confined space training. Confined space is a very important safety concept in the cellar, as all the tanks and the presses are confined spaces that need to be entered at some stage or another for cleaning purposes. There can be a risk of exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide, which is produced by the yeast during fermentation, which concurrently results in low levels of oxygen, especially if the vessel is not appropriately ventilated.

We discussed a case down in Margaret River in 1998 where a young cellar hand died in a fermentation tank from high levels of carbon dioxide. This goes to show how important it is to fully understand the dangers that we could be exposed to and how to put controls in place to decrease the risk of the work.

Having come fresh from the mining industry, I have had safety standards and practices drummed into me. As such, it has been very interesting to compare the approach towards safety in a winery.  Keeping in mind the winery I am at is large for Australian standards, I was quite impressed with the level of safety training.

To be honest, it was also comforting to know that everyone who had never worked in a winery was being thoroughly versed in safety practices:  not only to protect themselves, but also their fellow workmates.  

So, on a less serious note, all the induction boxes have been ticked and flicked and tomorrow we will spend the day learning our key areas of work - getting in and getting our hands dirty... I can't wait!!