How Conveyor Belts Can Be Hazardous

How Conveyor Belts Can Be Hazardous
  • Opening Intro -

    When transporting products in the workshop, fabricators typically use a conveyor belt’s assistance.

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Different types of conveyors are better suited for transporting materials horizontally, vertically, around corners, and at varying angles. Several different industries, including the following, enlist conveyor belts to improve workplace safety and efficiency.

  • Automotive
  • Bottling/canning
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Packaging
  • Aerospace
  • Fabrication

Conveyor machines are some of the most effective and versatile in the metalworking industry. While conveyors relieve fabrication employees from significant amounts of strenuous physical labor, the machines themselves can be dangerous. Discover how conveyor belts can be hazardous based on which type they are.

Nip Points and Shear Points

The most common conveyor injuries are typically a result of employee body parts getting caught on nip or shear points. These types of injuries are likely to happen when employees are engaged in any of the following activities.

  • Cleaning a conveyor that’s in-use.
  • Trying to remove jammed material from an in-going nip point.
  • Using a cleaning rag that gets caught in the conveyor, pulling in hands or fingers.

Metalworking facility management can reduce the hazards of nip points and shear points with proper gear guards and covers. Read on to see the prevalence of pinch points in the varying types of conveyor systems.

Belt Conveyors

Belt conveyors are the most popular conveyor type due to their simplicity and flexibility. Though a fabrication fan favorite, belt conveyors tend to pose the most risk to employee safety at the following structural locations.

  • Conveyor intake and discharge ends
  • Where the belt wraps around the pulleys
  • Where the belt or chain enters and exits the in-going nip point
  • Where multiple conveyors conjoin

Screw Conveyors

Screw conveyors have a revolving shaft with a spiral or twisted plate. The conveyor’s structure is indicative of how screw conveyor belts can be hazardous.

  • The entire length of the conveyor has nip points between the shaft and trough
  • Troughs are difficult to cover, making operators especially vulnerable to nip points
  • If a screw conveyor is not at an appropriate height, workers could potentially reach or fall into the trough

Roller Conveyors

Roller conveyors transport items using a series of parallel rollers that are either powered or gravity-driven. Fabricators should be aware that a roller conveyor is dangerous because:

  • It can snag and pull hands, hair, and clothing into a roller and stationary component, causing injury.
  • Rollers’ in-going nip points exist at several locations of the structure, including between the drive chain and sprockets, between belt and carrier rollers, at terminals, and drives.
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To protect your employees from injury on the job, consider adopting a guide to proper conveyor safety. Enforcing a strict safety standard in your fabrication shop is just one essential step to maximizing your staff’s well-being. Utilize signage, PPE, and safety training to keep every employee and visitor safe while they make their way through your facility.

Image Credit: how conveyor belts can be hazardous by envato.com

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