Since January 26, 2017, there have been four miners fatally injured when performing work around conveyor belts in underground coal mines. Two fatalities involved miners crossing the belt and the third fatal occurred when a miner contacted a moving drive roller for the section belt. Most recently, a miner, part of the mine’s maintenance crew, was preparing to make a belt splice when the belt started up, resulting in fatal injuries. Below are some best practices to follow when splicing a conveyor belt.
- Communicate to others in advance that you are planning to de-energize electrical power before splicing a conveyor belt.
- De-energize electrical power and lock and tag the visual disconnect before beginning a belt spice. Carry and use your own lock and tag device.
- Do NOT use the start and stop controls (belt switches). This switch does not de-energize the power.
- Disconnecting devices shall be locked out and suitably tagged by the person performing the work; lock and tags shall only be removed by the person who installed them once the work is completed.
- Block the belt to secure components against motion.
- After the splice has been completed and before removing your lock and tag, ensure everyone is clear of the conveyor belt and communicate to others that you will be restarting the belt.
- Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific task training on belt conveyors such as replacing rollers and splicing belts. Include these policies and procedures in your Part 48 refresher training. All employees must be trained on these policies and procedures.