Tips for Conveyor Safety

A conveyor is a common piece of machinery used by many types of industries to move materials from one location to another.

Conveyors have many moving parts, so worker training is essential. Some basic rules for anyone working near or at a conveyor are:

  1. Use the correct safety gear – hard hat and safety shoes
  2. Tie back and tuck in long hair
  3. Never wear jewellery or loose clothing
  4. Know where the emergency shut-off is located and how to use it
  5. Never touch or climb on a conveyor

In this article, we provide our top safety tips for some of the conveyor types used in Australia.


Portable and movable conveyors

Conveyors such as the expanding roller conveyor and expanding skate conveyor have wheels, so are adaptable for use in a variety of places, both indoors and outdoors.

  1. Never exceed the conveyor’s load capacity
  2. Use only weatherproof components
  3. Place power cables out of the way so they cannot be walked on or run over
  4. Place sideboard protection high enough to prevent items falling or being blown away by wind
  5. Chock the wheels on vehicles being loaded or emptied by the conveyor
  6. Mark the conveyor’s operating are using barriers, guardrails or simply marking the ground


Gravity conveyors

Gravity conveyors use gravity or momentum to move materials.

  1. Provide high and sufficient guardrails along the sides of the conveyor to prevent materials falling off
  2. Guard the pinch points on wheels and rollers
  3. Guard the area between the conveyor and the receiving table
  4. Place warning devices near the receiving area, especially if visibility to the conveyor is limited
  5. Provide retarders to friction areas when conveying heavy materials
  6. Install draft checks wherever conveyors pass through floors or fire walls


Powered conveyors

Powered conveyors use belts, slats, live rollers or buckets to move materials.

  1. Ensure workers cannot be struck by materials on the conveyor
  2. Place emergency cut-off stop switches near to the operator and at least every 30 metres along the conveyor
  3. Make sure the operator can see the entire conveyor system
  4. Place guards for the drive system’s moving parts anywhere there are crushing, trapping, friction or abrasion hazards
  5. Place guard rails around conveyors where they pass through the floor or ceiling
  6. Guard the pinch points between the conveyor and fixed objects
  7. Prevent static build up by grounding conveyor belts
  8. Follow lock-out procedures before servicing a conveyor


Pneumatic conveyors

Pneumatic conveyors are used to move powders, granules or other dry bulk materials.

  1. Know how to cut off airflow in case of blockage
  2. Place screening at the suction end to avoid items from being sucked in
  3. Shield access points and joints to avoid items being thrown if there is a gasket failure


Other types of conveyors

  1. Place guards and plates to prevent items falling from aerial conveyors
  2. Fully enclose vertical and horizontal bucket conveyors