Crushing and the Importance of Conveyor Safety
Regarded as the lifelines of any crushing operation, conveyor systems are some of the most valuable machines on the job site as they are designed to quickly transport bulk product from one point to another in order to greatly reduce the time spent manually handling the product. Because they are so vital, conveyors can often become one of the more common pieces of equipment onsite as well.
Due to their prevalence, conveyor systems could actually present unseen dangers to those crusher operators or site workers who become complacent to their presence. After all, when compared to the industrial vehicles and heavy machinery that often occupy a job site, conveyors can almost appear gentle in nature, despite their inherent risks; team members would do well to give the hazards of conveyors their full consideration.
One of the more apparent risks that conveyor systems can present is the large amounts of heavy rock and aggregate that are regularly conveyed over wide swaths of a crusher site. With so much material flowing overhead, the possibility of large pieces of debris falling from the conveyor should never be disregarded. Site workers should always ensure there is ample room between them and an operating conveyor when navigating the job site.
Beyond the material being carried, conveyor systems themselves rely on high-voltage electricity or high-pressure hydraulics in order to transport such heavy streams of product, and this energy is turned into rapidly moving belts and reels that operate with enough power to devastate anything that might interfere with them. Operating or maintaining a conveyor should only be done by someone who has been sufficiently trained for the task.
Should a mechanical issue occur with a conveyor that requires attention, it is important to shut down the conveyor system and to follow proper lock-out-tag-out procedures as soon as possible without creating any additional safety risks; shutting down the machine will prevent any injury to the conveyor and its operators as the issue is addressed. Maintenance should never be performed on a conveyor system in operation.
One of the most dangerous risks that conveyor systems can present is what are referred to as “pinch points.” These are sections on a conveyor where two moving parts, or a moving and a stationary party, are in close proximity to each other, and accidental contact with them can grab at any loose clothing or body parts nearby and pull them into the system, causing serious harm. To inhibit pinch point accidents, manufacturers provide prevention guards that must be installed along these hazardous sections to prevent injury and even death.
Whenever crews are working on a crusher site within proximity of conveyor systems, it is crucial to give these machines the careful attention they deserve. Despite their appearances, they can become a hazard to even the most seasoned site worker. Remember, saving lives is more important than saving time; following safety protocol is in the best interest of everyone involved, so please take the time to be mindful and to be safe.
This article does not serve as an official safety recommendation by Eagle Crusher and should not be viewed as such. All relevant staff should consult their owner’s manual before operating Eagle Crusher equipment, or any other manufacturer’s equipment, and comply with the safety guidelines therein.
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