Conveyors are a wonderful invention. They move large amounts of materials quickly and safely. They allow workers to reduce the amount of materials handled manually thereby increasing work capacity and production output. Decreasing manual material handling also lessens the chance of injury to a worker’s back and hands.
Conveyors are safe when used correctly, but they can be dangerous—and even deadly—if workers fail to follow safety procedures when working on or around them. Materials should be placed on the conveyor so that they will ride safely. When removing material off conveyors, workers should remain alert and safeguard their hands; the moving material can create pinch points. How someone is dressed —loose clothing, long hair, and jewelry—when working on or around conveyors can present the risk of conveyor entanglement.
When repairing or cleaning a conveyor, all equipment must be locked or blocked and operating controls tagged. If it’s necessary to clean belts or drums while the equipment in is motion, insure proper barrier guards are in place and that no part of the equipment can be activated which could endanger the individual at work.
If the conveyor runs overhead, precautions must be taken to prevent injuries from materials that may fall from above. If the conveyor runs at head height or carries material hung from hooks, workers in the area should remain alert to possible danger and measures should be taken to prevent workers from being accidentally struck by moving material.
There are other general safety precautions which should be followed by everyone even if they don’t work directly with conveyors. No one should ever climb over or crawl under a conveyor and NEVER ride on or otherwise use a conveyor for transportation.