A bakery in Melbourne learned the hard way about not protecting their employees from conveyor accidents when they were fined $60,000 for an accident that occurred on site. The decision not to immediately return a conveyor guard to a machine was a mistake that an employee paid for with the loss of their arm. As an employer, you must make sure that your employees are protected from the fast moving parts that make up your new conveyor purchase. These two safety tips should go a long way towards keeping everybody safe around this new equipment.
Employee Personal Safety
Humans are clumsy creatures, so the first step towards keeping your employees safe around the conveyor is to protect them from themselves. Ways that you can do this include:
- Making sure there are no power cords or air hoses to the conveyor snaking across the floor. If it must be on the floor, have it firmly taped down so that it does not become a tripping hazard.
- Any employee with long hair must have it tied back, preferably in a bun, as long ponytails can get trapped in moving conveyors.
- Dangling jewellery, ties, and hoodie cords should all be removed before heading to the work floor as these items can get caught in conveyors.
- Before any new employee is allowed into your working area, they must be shown where the emergency shut off switch is, and how to use it. The safety of all their co-workers may one day depend on their actions.
Once you have protected your employees from themselves, it is time to look at the conveyor itself.
Safeguarding The Conveyor
With so many moving parts on your conveyor, you may be confused about where to start when it comes to providing better protection for your employees. All conveyors have some safety equipment attached to it, but as an employer you must go that one step further to protect your staff. Look for these possible hazard points when it comes to providing better protection:
- Look at all the wheels on your conveyor, is there a chance that these could inadvertently move when the conveyor is working hard? If so, you need to consider putting chocks against the wheels so that they don't. Alternatively, change the wheels so they are the ones that have a locking mechanism in them to prevent movement.
- Is your conveyor running at a height above your employees? If so, is there anything in place to prevent material from falling off the conveyor and striking your employee on the head? Options to protect your employees include high guardrails that run along the side of the conveyor. If you are truly concerned, however, consider running a full enclosure guard around a high conveyor belt. This eliminates any chance of product material falling from a height.
- Is there a grounding wire attached to the conveyor to reduce the chance of a static electric shock from occurring? The friction that is created by product moving over the conveyor belt will lead to a build up of static electricity on the conveyor line. Employees risk receiving a minor shock if this build up is not grounded to allow it to discharge.
A conveyor specialist is your first point of contact when you want to investigate adding additional safety equipment for your new conveyor. They have information regarding what suits the different types of conveyors, and have the knowledge about how to install your new safety products.
While a conveyor is certainly a vital piece of machinery for many businesses, you need to look beyond the basic safety protectors provided if you are truly committed to keeping your employees safe at work. Keep this advice in mind as you install your new conveyor through a company like Belle Banne Conveyor Products, and your chance of having many days without an accident occurring will be greatly improved.