Conveyor safety at surface mines
Conveyor systems are an important method of material haulage at many surface and underground mines. They range from a single belt to a series of belts spanning miles. All conveyor systems have inherent dangers while in motion. Fatal accidents related to working near, inspecting, adjusting or maintaining conveyor belts occur each year at underground and surface mines. The risk to workers can be reduced by following safe work practices during operation and maintenance and by installing proper physical safeguards on the equipment. On this page, MSHA provides resources and tips to help miners stay safe around conveyor systems.
Key Safety Practices:
- Ensure that power is disconnected during maintenance and repairs by locking out and tagging out energy at the source. It’s best if the person doing the work personally disconnects and locks the power and restores it following the work.
- Ensure that adequate guarding is installed to prevent any contact between miners and moving parts of a conveyor, including rollers and head and tail areas.
- Install pull cords for emergency stops at strategic locations to prevent or minimize injury after accidental contact.
- Never attempt to cross a moving conveyor belt except at suitable crossings.
- Install practical and usable belt crossing facilities at strategic locations, including near controls, when height allows.
- Install audible and visible warning systems to signal the start of the conveyor.
- Establish policies and procedures for performing specific tasks on conveyor belts and ensure all miners are trained.