Work safely around conveyors

Therese Dunphy

December 24, 2013


According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the most common belt conveyor accidents occur when a miner is:

  • Caught between a conveyor belt and an idler or pulley;

  • Caught in a drive chain or gear drive; or

  • Trapped between major components of a system.

In addition, the most common hazards associated with conveyors are:

  • Fall of person;

  • Falling materials or objects;

  • Fire;

  • Electrocution;

  • Slip-trip-fall injuries; and

  • Strains/sprains.

To ensure operator safety, MSHA compiled the following best practices for avoiding conveyor accidents.

  • Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks on belt conveyors.

  • Ensure that persons are task trained and understand hazards associated with work performed.

  • De-energize and block belt conveyors against motion before working near a drive, head, tail, take-up pulleys, and magnets.

  • Lock-out/tag-out all power sources before working on belt conveyors.

  • Maintain communications with all persons performing the task. Before starting belt conveyors, ensure that all persons are clear.

  • Provide and maintain a safe means of access to all working places.

  • Sound an audible alarm if the entire length of the belt conveyor is not visible from the starting switch.

For more on conveyor safety, click here.

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