Conveyor systems are standard in many workplaces, especially in the manufacturing, warehousing and distribution industries. They transport materials and products from one location to another quickly and efficiently. However, working with these systems can be hazardous, which is why conveyor safety standards are essential.

In this article, we will explain some of the common dangers of using systems and offer advice on how you can improve conveyor safety in the workplace for your team.



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the most common dangers of using conveyors

Conveyor systems are excellent products for improving efficiency and ensuring operations run smoothly. However, with so many different components and complex functionality, conveyors can pose a risk to health and safety. There are a few common dangers associated with conveyor systems, including:

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Pinch points and nip points

Pinch points and nip points are areas where the conveyor belt and other components come together, creating a space where fingers, hands or other body parts can get caught and crushed. These points are considered potentially hazardous when assessing occupational healthy and safety due to the risk of an accident occurring if a body part or clothing gets caught.

Entanglement hazards

Entablement hazards are situations where clothing, hair or other loose items could get caught in moving machinery or equipment. With conveyors, the belts and other moving parts can easily catch clothing or jewellery, causing the employee to be pulled into the machinery and sustain severe injuries. Accidents here can lead to tragic circumstances like amputations, fractures, asphyxiation and lacerations.

Sharp edges

It goes without saying that sharp items always pose a significant threat and can cause harm to a person. Conveyor systems sometimes have sharp edges that can cause cuts or wounds if an employee accidentally comes into contact with them. Injuries can be minor or more serious, such as lacerations or punctures. Untreated wounds may lead to infection. If there is lots of blood, this can contaminate the workplace.

Falling objects

Conveyors are used to transport various goods, whether light, heavy or hazardous. Materials or products moving on a conveyor system can fall off and injure workers nearby. Heavy objects are likely to hurt someone if it lands on them, causing injuries like bruising, fractures, crushes and head injuries. Some materials may smash and cause a risk to people within the area. Goods containing hazardous items could cause significant risk if it breaks.

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Electrical hazards

Some of the most significant risks in any workplace involve electrical hazards. If care isn't taken, there is a possibility of fires, explosions, electric shocks and more. Conveyor systems typically use motors, sensors and other electrical components, which can pose a risk of electrical shock or electrocution if not properly installed and maintained. Inadequate training, overloading circuits and improper maintenance are common examples where electrical risks can occur.

Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls are commonly some of the most frequent examples of workplace accidents. While any industry can pose a health and safety risk here, the risk is greater when working with height and lots of loose materials. People working around conveyor systems may risk slipping or tripping on uneven floors, debris or spilt materials. An injury could be something minor like a simple strain to something more serious, particularly if it involves falling at height.

Airborne dust

Dust is a prime example of an airborne contaminant that can lead to health problems with frequent exposure. Dust can be generated during materials movement on a belt conveyor and can cause respiratory problems for employees exposed to it. If untreated, it can lead to respiratory irritation, coughing and shortness of breath. Prolonged exposure to high dust levels can also contribute to more severe health problems, such as asthma and lung cancer.

how you can improve conveyor safety

Now that we've gone through some of the examples of risks associated with conveyors, it's time to take a look at the actions you can take to improve conveyor safety.

Conduct regular risk assessments

Performing a risk assessment is essential in identifying potential hazards and implementing appropriate measures to mitigate risks associated with conveyor safety in the workplace. Start by identifying all potential threats related to conveyors, as seen in the previous paragraphs.

Once you have identified the dangers, determine the likelihood and severity of potential injuries or accidents. This will help you prioritise which hazards to address first and which mitigation measures to implement.

The following step is to assess the current controls' effectiveness in mitigating the identified risks. It may include emergency stops, warning signs and training programs.

Based on the assessment, develop additional or improved controls to address the identified problems. These involve machine guarding, regular maintenance, inspections, and employee training and awareness programs.

Put in place the new controls and monitor their effectiveness regularly. Among the activities are ongoing inspections, audits and employee feedback.

It is vital to involve all relevant staffers in the risk assessment, especially those who operate conveyors or work near them.


Implement conveyor safety guards

Conveyor safety guards are physical barriers preventing access to hazardous conveyor system areas. They are designed to protect employees from getting caught in the moving parts of the conveyor system and can be made of materials such as metal, plastic or mesh. Moreover, they can be designed to fit around specific areas of the equipment.

Various types of conveyor safety guards can be used, including fixed, interlocked and adjustable guards.

Fixed conveyor guards are permanent barriers that cannot be removed without tools. Meanwhile, interlocked guards are designed to prevent the conveyor system from operating unless the guard is in place, ensuring that employees cannot access the hazardous area. Adjustable guards, in their turn, are designed to be moved or adjusted to fit different sizes or shapes of materials being conveyed.

It is essential to ensure that all conveyor safety guards and devices are correctly installed, maintained and inspected regularly to ensure they are sufficient.

Use clear and effective warning signs

Warning signs are one of the best ways to improve safety when working with conveyors. They communicate the associated health risks clearly, particularly for site visitors and those not briefed on existing dangers. Clear and effective signage should warn people about potential hazards, indicate emergency stop buttons, and present other critical information.

Provide adequate training to increase conveyor safety

Providing adequate training to all employees about conveyor belt safety standards and conveyor controls is crucial. Training should cover the safe use of machinery, the importance of following safety procedures and how to identify potential hazards. It is also essential to provide refresher training regularly to ensure employees stay up-to-date with the latest safety measures.

Remember that, in some jurisdictions, conveyor belt safety regulations demand mandatory training. Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Failure to provide adequate training could result in legal liability if an accident occurs.

Implement lockout/tagout procedures

Lockout/tagout procedures are designed to prevent accidents caused by the unexpected startup or release of energy during machinery maintenance or servicing. These procedures involve isolating energy sources and placing locks and tags to ensure that no one can access the equipment while it is being serviced.

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Conduct regular maintenance

Regular maintenance or repair of conveyors and related equipment is essential for ensuring they work correctly and safely. Periodic inspections will help you identify any wear and tear or other issues that could compromise safety. Make sure that any repairs or maintenance are carried out promptly to minimise accidents and injuries.

Ensure safe material handling procedures

Your business might use a conveyor to handle different materials, including heavy and bulky goods, loose items and potentially hazardous materials. Material handling is a health and safety concern due to the risk of manual labour and operating dangerous equipment. Implement adequate material handling procedures to prevent the conveyor from overloading, misaligning or spilling goods. Workers should use only suitable equipment and methods when loading and unloading materials.

Keep work areas clean and tidy

A neat and orderly workplace is a safe workplace. Keeping work areas around conveyor systems free from clutter and debris will prevent accidents caused by slips, trips and falls. Ensure floors are regularly cleaned, and spills are dealt with immediately.

Limit access to trained personnel

Due to the dangers associated with a conveyor system, from the goods it carries to the complex equipment itself, we recommend you limit access to conveyor areas to trained and authorised personnel only. This measure ensures that the only people who can encounter conveyor risks are those who know the risks and how to keep themselves and others safe. Physical barriers and controlled access points can help you enforce this.

Use LEV systems to remove contaminants

LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation) systems capture and remove pollutants. The process uses local exhaust hoods or ducts connected to a ventilation system. The collected dust and contaminants are removed from the workplace and filtered or treated as necessary before being released into the environment.

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Implement a dress code

Proper clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) are essential for conveyor safety and general safety requirements. This includes wearing hard hats and safety shoes, and avoiding loose clothing, jewellery, and hanging long hair. These items can become caught in the machinery and pull the employee towards the conveyor belt, potentially causing severe conveyor related injuries or even death.

Additionally, other PPE may be required depending on the specific hazards present in the workplace. For example, employees may need gloves, eye protection or respirators to protect themselves from chemicals or dust.


maintain your conveyors with joloda conveyor services

Our maintenance service keeps your conveyor system running efficiently and safely. Our engineers will assess your machine and advise whether you need conveyor service, parts replacement or other essential work. We'll flag any areas of concern and the work required to prevent future problems. Our team will also check if there's anything more immediate that you need to address regarding conveyor safety.

Regularly maintaining your conveyor system prevents accidents caused by malfunctions or faulty operations. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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about joloda conveyor services

We are a unique service provider, focused 100% on repairs, maintenance and refurbishment of conveyor systems. Our team of conveyor carers are experts because they are not distracted by lots of additional bolt-on services; when your equipment needs attention, we’ll carry out conveyor troubleshooting and fix the problem to get you back operational as quickly as possible.

Learn more About Us and how we can help to keep your, and the nation's conveyors rolling, by preventing and fixing common conveyor belt problems.

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