Safety Alert: How to Stay Safe When Working Around Belt Conveyors
If you’re a miner who has to work on, near or around a belt conveyor, it’s important to always be aware of the hazards that you might run across.
A significant number of injuries and fatalities over the last few years have occurred when miners were working in the proximity of moving conveyors, while some have involved maintenance of an idle conveyor.
All of them could have been prevented with proper lock-out/tag-out and blocking against motion before working.
Read this Safety Alert from CORESafety and pay attention to these best practices –
Best Practices During Belt Conveyor Maintenance*
Block From Motion
- Identify, isolate and control stored mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and gravitational energy.
- Effectively block the belt conveyor to prevent movement in either direction.
- Relieve belt tension by releasing the energy at the take-up/belt storage system. Be aware that some tensile energy may remain.
- Anchor belt clamping system to substantial belt structures. Use properly rated engineered belt clamps and come-alongs. Do not use belt grippers to restrain tensioned belts.
- Position the clamp 90 degrees to the belt’s direction of travel, and tie off in line with the belt’s direction of travel.
- Position belt splice where it can be safely accessed to avoid pinch points.
- Be aware of the consequences if blocking equipment fails. Stand in safe locations.
Lock and Tag
- De-energize electrical power, and lock and tag the main disconnect before beginning maintenance. Only the person who installed a lock and tag can remove them, and only after completing the work.
- Never lock out using the start and stop controls (belt switches). These do not disconnect power conductors.
- Once power has been disconnected and properly locked and tagged out, test the system to assure there is no power to the belt conveyor.
Training and Communication
- Ensure miners are trained on safe work procedures. Develop step-by-step procedures and review them with all miners before they perform non-routine maintenance risks such as adding or removing conveyor belt.
- Communicate effectively. After maintenance has been completed and before removing your lock and tag, ensure everyone is clear of the belt conveyor and communicate to others that you will be restarting the belt.
*U.S. Department of Labor, MSHA
You should also refer to these CORESafety’s resources:
- Conveyor Belt Best Practices PDF – Download and Share
- Module #4 – Fatality Prevention & Risk Management
- Module #5 – Training & Competence
- Module #12 – Work Procedures & Permit
To learn more about CORESafety, visit www.coresafety.org