Safety Alert - Belt Structures
Two recent structural failures involving aerial/overhead belt structures highlight the need to increase awareness of seasonal hazards associated with these systems.
Sub-freezing temperatures contributed to the collapse of a coal stacker belt in Pennsylvania when water and belt spillage being washed from the walkways accumulated and froze on the drip pan.
Rust and deterioration contributed to the collapse of a coal aerial/overhead belt structure in Virginia.
Careful examination and prompt correction of potential safety hazards is essential for the safe operation of these types of conveyor systems. These occurrences can be greatly reduced by utilizing the following best practices:
- During winter weather, belt structures should be inspected for excessive accumulations of spillage on walkways, structural members and drip pans.
- Modify cleanup programs to accommodate special conditions during periods of inclement weather.
- Carefully inspect structures for damaged anchor bolts near the base of the structure, often caused by mobile equipment.
- Be on guard for delamination (excessive flaking or erosion) of metal surfaces due to rusting.
- Serious cross sectional deterioration or loss of structural steel should be quickly reported and corrected.