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Stay Safe Around Your Conveyor Belt

If you work on or near a conveyor belt, or if you’re upgrading your own production facility to include one of these industrial workhorses, then you need to think about safety. Pretty much every factory and facility has a conveyor belt, if not several, and so while they’re essential to productivity, they can also represent a big source of potential accidents and harm. Anyone working with a conveyer belt has to observe strict rules so that they – and their colleagues – stay as safe as possible while working.

It’s up to the management

It’s actually the duty of the management team to teach and instil safe practice around conveyor belts. It doesn’t matter if the belt is a smaller type or one of the huge industrial ones from, safety is paramount and so workers need to know how to work on it and move around it as safely as possible. They also need to know what to do if there is an accident or an emergency. Swift action can save lives and limbs.

Here are the ground rules for working around conveyor belts:

  • the belt should have a loud and unique signal that sounds just before it’s started;
  • emergency stop buttons should be located within easy reach of all workers, especially those at the further ends of the belt;
  • the stop buttons should be specially wired so they can’t activate the belt again until an override switch has been reset;
  • screw conveyors must have guards so that workers are kept away from the turning parts;
  • if the belt travels above workers anywhere along its route, there should be guards to prevent objects falling off and warning signs in these areas;
  • during downtime – either for repairs or maintenance – the belt must be made inoperable and signposted with DO NOT OPERATE signs, and
  • visitors, who may not have had conveyor belt training, must receive a briefing and be accompanied by trained operatives throughout their visit.

It’s also important to…

…let only authorised staff maintain or repair the belt. Staff should also be sensible around it – no riding or sitting on it, even if it’s turned off. If anyone sees dangerous or incorrect practice around the belt, then they should alert the worker supervisors immediately. Remember, even if your belt is a lightweight model that transports macaroons, it could injure someone’s fingers very badly indeed.

Cleaning of the belt can only be undertaken when it’s inactivated and everyone should know where the start and stop controls are. These locations should always be unobstructed and clearly visible. The area around these controls and the belt itself should always be free of tripping or slipping hazards.

Workers must also wear PPE

Anyone working on or near the belt must wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as safety glasses, gripping gloves and non-slip shoes. Anyone with long hair should tie it back and all staff should avoid loose-fitting clothes.

Another important safety measure is to make sure that everyone knows how to lift loads properly to avoid long-term strains and injuries as well as sudden accidents.

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