Conveyor danger

OVER the past six years, 21 miners have died in conveyor belt accidents in the US. This alarming statistic was highlighted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) as it issued a number of safety tips.
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Angie Tomlinson

The leading cause of conveyor accidents was miners trying to remove material sticking to a roller or pulley while the belt was running.

In fatal accidents, belt speeds were typically in the range of 300-500 feet per minute, where the belt was moving from five to more than eight feet per second. According to MSHA, the average person needed about one second to react to an unexpected sensation.

“Even at 300fpm, in that one second the average person needs to react, the belt moves over the pulleys and rollers a distance of five feet. That's far enough to draw your tool, your loose clothing, gloved or bare hand and arm into a pinch point before you can react,” a spokesperson for the MSHA said.

MSHA issued the following safety tips:

Don't take chances around a conveyor belt

Don't perform work that will expose you to a pinch point, like clearing caked material from a roller, while a belt is in operation

Only work on a conveyor that is locked and tagged out

If you are working near a stopped belt, and a start-up warning is given, stop what you're doing and get clear

Never cross a moving belt

Always cross at a bridge or designated crossing point.