Redhook Employee Killed in Keg Explosion

Hospital confirms brewery worker died this morning after suffering injuries from a keg that exploded in his face.

PORTSMOUTH, NH – A hospital spokeswoman confirmed just after noon Tuesday that the Redhook worker who was injured when a beer keg exploded in his face has died.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Notis could not provide any other details about the Redhook worker's death, only that he succumbed to his injuries sometime after he was transported to the hospital by Portsmouth firefighters.

The employee has been identified as .

Andy Thomas, Redhook's president of commercial operations, issued the following statement on the tragedy shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday:

"We are saddened by the tragic event that occurred at the Portsmouth brewery this morning resulting in the death of one of our employees. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family.

We are doing everything in our power to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic accident, and have closed down all non-essential operations at the Portsmouth brewery, including the pub, while the investigation continues.

We believe it would not be appropriate to comment further until the investigation is concluded. Our sympathy is with his family and everyone touched by the tragedy."

Many people have already offering prayers for Harris and his family.

"Our thoughts and Prayers are with you all," one person said.

"Thinking about the entire Red Hook family," said another.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an inspection following today's incident, according to Ted Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the agency.

"The purpose of OSHA's inspection is to determine which workplace safety standards apply in this situation and whether or not the employer complied with those standards," Fitzgerald said in an email. "If the inspection determines there were violations, OSHA could issue citations to and propose fines for the employer."

He said OSHA will have nothing further to say until its inspection is complete, and it is too early to estimate when that might be.

UPDATE, 8:45 A.M.: A Redhook Ale Brewery worker suffered serious, life threatening injuries Tuesday morning after a beer keg exploded in his face.

Portsmouth Fire Capt. Mike Hogan said firefighters and EMTs responded to Redhook's facility at Pease International Tradeport around 7 a.m. and found a worker in the distribution area who had sustained some traumatic injuries.

Hogan could not say how the accident occurred, but said it happened in the area of Redhook's distribution facility where beer kegs are shipped.

Hogan said Portsmouth Fire/Rescue transported the Redhook worker to Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

According to emergency communitications, federal OSHA inspectors were headed to Redhook to investigate the incident. When contacted this morning, Ted Lane, a Redhook spokesman, declined to make any comment about the incident until Redhook officials could gather more information about what happened.

Redhook said in a tweet at 11:01 a.m. today that the Cataqua Pub at the Portsmouth location will be closed today, and all brewery tours have been cancelled.

An earlier story follows:

An employee at Redhook brewery in Portsmouth was critically injured this morning when a beer keg exploded on him.

According to emergency radio broadcasts, emergency crews were called to the brewery at 1 Redhook Way around 7:30 a.m. Initial reports were that the man suffered a serious facial injury.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified of the incident, which is considered an industrial accident.

peter April 25, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Keg might have been overfilled at the brewery. Old kegs had wooden bungs that would blow first. Maybe the new ones have a pressure release valve. An accident like this should have never happened. Defective stainless steel beer keg is the probable cause.
Bill Ferguson April 25, 2012 at 02:14 AM
To Brian: Thank you for comprehensively following up on my earlier comment. I am completely behind you when you state there should be a standard of care when reusing these beer kegs. Think about how stringent the regulations are regarding scuba tanks during their required testing prior to being refilled. It should further be realized that bar personnel are also exposed to keg bursting hazards as are some private homes (mine). Should you launch a petition I will be the first to sign. Good luck, brother.
Rocky Sheridan April 25, 2012 at 06:19 AM
We had a Keg Explosion when I was in college once.The keg had been in back of our truck for most of the day,and we were at one point in a high speed chase through the mountains with it rolling around,hiting the sides of the bedliner.We then dropped the keg upon unloading it.When it finally got tapped,after been dropped down the stairs,and various other disasters,it explded,impaling the spout in the new color TV,and showering a $2000 stereo and speaker set w/tvstereo set.What didn't get damaged with impact was shorted out by the beer itself.Also destroyed were the curtains behind it,along with the front window and the entertainment center,and the blast broke two fingers of the guy uploading the keg.Other than that,there wasn't too much of a problem,and it all pales in comparison to croaking after a redhook explosion..
DON ORLOSKY April 25, 2012 at 09:13 AM
Ms. Angel Baasch April 26, 2012 at 06:11 AM
May GodBlessHisDearlyDepartedSoul,Ms Angel Baasch & Sons...The above comments are all worthy,thank you also fir information I did not know..


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