Maintaining the safety of operatives around a conveyor should be of top priority to employers. For this purpose, it is important to educate all workers, whether temporary, contractual, or permanent
Imparting knowledge about the various safety, emergency, and preventive measures in place is imperative. Employers should also ensure that all safety processes are adhered to, and all protocols are being followed. These processes need to be simple enough for all conveyor operatives to understand and implement. They should not only maintain personnel safety but also be easily accessible and effective during emergencies.
Below is a quick check list to ensure that business owners and managers have taken the right measures to ensure operative safety. This information can serve as a guideline when installing conveyors, hiring individuals, and ensuring a safe work environment.
To reduce the number of accidents associated with workplace equipment, employers should train employees in the proper use and limitations of the equipment they operate.
When using conveyors, workers may get their hands caught in ‘nip points’ where the conveyor medium runs near the frame or over support members or rollers. EU Standards define a ‘Nip Point’ as ‘Dangerous point which occurs on the in-running side at the line of contact between the conveyor belt and rotating pulley and in certain cases between belt and an idler roller or a fixed part’. Workers also may be struck by material falling off the conveyor, or they may get caught in the conveyor and drawn into the conveyor path as a result. To prevent or reduce the severity of an injury, employers should take the following precautions to protect workers:
- Install an emergency button or pull cord designed to stop the conveyor at the employee's work station.
- Install emergency stop cables that extend the entire length of continuously accessible conveyor belts so that the cables can be accessed from any location along the conveyor.
- Design the emergency stop switch so that it must be reset before the conveyor can be restarted
- Ensure that appropriate personnel inspect the conveyor and clear the stoppage before restarting a conveyor that has stopped due to an overload
- Prohibit employees from riding on a materials-handling conveyor
- Provide guards where conveyors pass over work areas or aisles to keep employees from being struck by falling material. (If the crossover is low enough for workers to run into it, mark the guard with a warning sign or paint it a bright colour to protect employees)
- Cover screw conveyors completely except at loading and discharging points. (At those points, guards must protect employees against contacting the moving screw. The guards are movable, and they must be interlocked to prevent conveyor movement when the guards are not in place)
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