Conveyor belt systems are an integral part of numerous kinds of facilities today. They are especially useful in processes where transportation of heavy and bulky materials is involved. They enhance operational convenience and flexibility.
However, conveyor systems also top the list of equipment which involves a lot of safety risks if not operated with necessary precaution. This article lists 10 best practices which can be integrated with the operational norms of your facility, to reduce safety risks around conveyor belts.
10 Best Practices to safeguard conveyor belt related risks
- Every year, most of the accidents and injuries related to conveyor belt systems occur because people working with and around them tend to ignore the most basic rule of safety pertaining to these systems. As per this rule, people should never stand, ride, walk, touch or sit on the conveyor belts at any time. But often out of mischief or negligence, people take these systems for granted and overlook this basic rule, which results in health hazards.
- Any kind of maintenance task should never be carried out on the conveyor belt until and unless every type of energy source such as hydraulic, electric, air etc., is disconnected. Most accidents in such cases occur because the technicians feel too confident and comfortable with the equipment and ignore the relevant safety precautions before carrying out maintenance.
- Conveyor controls have guards on them to ensure the safety of the operators. However, most of the times these guards are seen as obstruction and are also often removed for maintenance, but are never replaced. This exposes the internal parts such as gears, chains, and other moving parts, which pose a safety threat if left uncovered.
- It is advisable to always clear off personnel from near the conveyor belt systems before starting the conveyors. This can be done by simply announcing a warning signal before the system starts.
- Care should be taken to always ensure that any of the conveyor controls are never modified or misused in any way. This is primarily because they don’t only switch on and switch off the system. These controls also monitor a lot of other functions. Hence, unqualified personnel should never be allowed to handle these controls as this might result in an accident. Only authorized and well-trained professionals should be allowed to handle the conveyors.
- Loose hair or clothes, ties, etc., should be kept away from the conveyor belts at all times when the system is powered and running. Even those operating the conveyors should keep their hands off of the moving belts to avoid injury. Visitors should also be warned about such types of possible accidents.
- It is important to keep the area surrounding the conveyors clean and free from any debris to reduce the chances of any accidents, and also to ensure that the system functions smoothly. However, it is much more important to see to it that no cleaning tasks are carried out until and unless the system is completely shut down and disconnected from any type of power source.
- While installing conveyors, it is important to keep in mind that all the controls are placed in a way so that they are easily visible and accessible to the employees. So in a case of any emergency, they can reach the controls and act as quickly as possible.
- It should be ensured that every team member operating the conveyors should be well-trained regarding the location and the functions of all the controls. Also, the team should be updated as and when the facility is reconfigured or when the equipment is upgraded.
- Encourage workers to report any potential risks that they might come across while working with a conveyor belt system. The employees should be sensitized during their training programs to handle related safety risks because the untrained staff is at a greater risk while dealing with such equipment.
All of the best practices listed above, if followed religiously, will help prevent any safety hazards involving conveyor belts at your facility. However, it is also important that the employees working with and around conveyor systems remain constantly alerted regarding potential hazards. Constant vigilance, appropriate training, and well-designed conveyor systems which have safety features embedded in the design itself are vital to keeping your team and facility safe.
Get in touch with our team of experts at Compactor Management Company and know more about how you can boost the safety quotient of your facility when it comes to conveyor systems.
Compactor Management Company (former Northern California Compactors, Inc.) offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as trash compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.