Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Kieran Fogarty

Second Advisor

Dr. James McGlothlin

Third Advisor

Dr. Stacie Fruth


Carbon dioxide, musculoskeletal disorder risk, workload, heart rate, craft breweries, occupational safety and health


Americans have embraced craft beer, and the ensuing demand has resulted in an ever-increasing number of craft breweries opening over the past 20 years. Craft brewers are generally small employers and, as such, lack the resources necessary to address the safety and health of their employees adequately. Brewers face many safety and health hazards in their work environment. These hazards include exposures to carbon dioxide (CO2), workload demand, and MSD risk. It is essential to evaluate these hazards in craft breweries as they handle carbon dioxide (CO2) differently than large breweries by having the CO2 discharge vent directly into the building. There have been very few research studies of CO2 exposures in any type of brewery documented in the literature. Additionally, most research on the health effects of CO2 has been on higher levels of exposure, over 1%, and there has been very little research at lower concentrations. A few studies of CO2 exposure concentrations less than 5000 ppm have indicated that heart rate increases are possible. The aggregate or combined risk of exposures to CO2, workload, and musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risk in a brewer's job tasks can cause combined increases in heart rate and physical fatigue. The evaluation of the craft brewery workplace stressors took place in small, mid-sized, and large craft breweries and the barrel filling, canning fill, and cellar job tasks. The use of video exposure monitoring (VEM™) aided the data collection. VEM™ synchronizes real-time sensor monitoring with video for analysis of workplace exposures. This dissertation characterized the CO2 exposures in craft breweries and looked at how the interactions of CO2, workload, and MSD risk can influence the heart rate of their employees. The first paper characterizes CO2 exposures in craft breweries. The second paper is an evaluation of MSD risk, workload, and CO2 exposure levels on heart rates of brewers. These risks were measured through Rapid Body Entire Assessment (MSD risk), NASA Task Load Index (workload), and nondispersive infrared sensor (CO2 exposure levels). The third paper focuses on the ergonomic evaluation of control measures to reduce workplace stressors leading to a decrease in brewer’s heart rate.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access