Conveyors are used to transport materials horizontally, vertically, at an angle, or around curves. Hazards depend on the type of conveyer, the material conveyed, the location of the conveyor, and how close the conveyer is to workers. Conveyors eliminate or reduce manual material handling tasks, but they introduce amputation hazards associated with mechanical motion.
Eliminating manual material handling is why conveyors are widely used. They move materials efficiently and safely. Conveyors are one of the earliest forms of automation. In fact, they’ve been around so long that we don’t really look at them as a form of automation but as basic machinery for getting the job done.
Like other things we work with, conveyors are safe when used correctly. They’re not a means of human transportation or a plaything. They come in many shapes and sizes, and each is designed to do a specific job, so it’s not easy to sum up conveyor safety in a few sentences. But needless to say, you have to use the right conveyor for the job.
The fact that conveyors run steadily and smoothly may lull you into a false sense of security when you’re around them. Don’t fall into this trap. Conveyors can be dangerous. Loose clothing and jewelry, particularly rings, are dangerous to wear on the job. Combine them with the presence of a conveyor and the hazard potential increases quickly.
Best Practices When Using Conveyor Belts:
- Conveyors should never be walked on or under, stood on, or used as transportation.
- Conveyors should only be used to move the materials it was designed to transport.
- Only personnel who have been properly trained should operate or maintain a conveyor. Conveyor operators should be aware of all pinch points.
- Materials should always be safely placed on the conveyor so that they will transport safely.
- Operators should be alert when removing materials from the conveyor and ensure their hands are safe from pinch points.
- When operating a conveyor, it is important to keep all loose clothing, jewelry, and hair away from the moving parts.
- Loose articles can easily become caught in the conveyor, resulting in injury to the employee. Conveyor guards should never be altered, removed, or bypassed.
- Conveyor guards are in place to protect the operator from injury and should always be maintained.
- Conveyor controls should be inspected prior to operating the machine to ensure the functions are operating properly.
- Prior to jams being cleared, maintenance, or repairs being performed on the conveyor, lock- out/tag-out procedures should always be followed.
- Any energy source (i.e. electric or hydraulic) should be disconnected from the conveyor before maintenance is performed.
- Always refer to the LOTO procedures for the specific equipment being worked on.
- Training is required to complete these tasks.
- Ensure you are familiar with the startup alarm.
- If you notice the alarm is no longer working, report this to your supervisor immediately.
- If you see something, say something.
- Employees should be encouraged to report any misuse of conveyors or defects to prevent injury from occurring.
With the increase in production using conveyors, comes increased risk for injury if the proper safeguards are not in place. Follow all recommended guidelines set by the manufacturer for the equipment used. Do not deviate from the recommended safe work practices put into place. If conditions change or you are ever unsure about a situation, stop work and contact a supervisor.
AVOID A MOURNING…ACKNOWLEDGE A WARNING!!
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