Along with cranes and derricks, conveyors are often necessary at the job site to move large loads from one place to the next. These aren’t like the conveyors you see at airports, though! Conveyors in the job site, whether it is a construction site, dock, farm, plant, or other location, can be extremely dangerous if not moved properly. If you’ll be working around a conveyor, make sure you’re trained on proper usage.
The CDC, in conjunction with the National AG Safety Database, has published this document, which covers basic conveyor safety on farms (and beyond – this information is pertinent for other industries as well). As you can read, there are multiple kinds of conveyors, but no matter what kid you use, it is important that shields, guards, or other types of housing be used in order to keep fingers and clothing from getting caught. Remember, these heavy-duty pieces of equipment cannot be stopped quickly, and many people have lost fingers or even entire hands after getting caught in moving parts.
The easiest way to ensure that you and working safely around a conveyor belt is to follow the guidelines set forth by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They have two main documents covering conveyor regulations (1917.48 and 1926.555) as well as one document covering powered conveyors (1918.64). Some of the most important safety regulations include the following:
- Portable conveyors must be completely stable and secured while in use.
- Employees should have quick, easy access to emergency stop devices.
- No one should ride on conveyors unless there are platforms specifically built for that purpose.
- All conveyors must meet design, construction, inspection, testing, and maintenance standards as published in ANSI B20.1-195, OSHA’s safety code for conveyors, cableways, and other related equipment.
- Only designated employees such operate the conveyor.
Because there are so many different kinds of conveyors, you should be trained on the one you’ll specifically be using, along with general conveyor safety. A number of resources are available to help you learn about specific kinds of conveyors. For example, Oklahoma State University, gives readers more information about Auger Conveyors, while this document, prepared by North Dakota State University, is written about Pneumatic Grain Conveyors. In addition, you can read about Tray Conveyors from the University of Delaware, Conveyors used in Mines from the Michigan Mine Safety and Health Training program, and Belt Conveyor Technology from the University of Denver. Both West Virginia University and Farmingdale State College School of Engineering Technologies has published general information about conveyors and safety (read them here and here, respectively).
As you can see, there are clearly many resources to help you learn how to operate and work around a conveyor safely. On the job training is extremely important, as is following regulations as set forth by OSHA. When everyone works in a safer manner, fewer employees will be injured or die resulting from accidents at work – and that’s good news for everyone. If you have been injured in a crane accident contact a crane accident attorney today.