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Don’t remove safety guards and covers

06th September 2019

Anywhere a moving part could be accessed by anyone should be shielded from access
Conveyor guards help shield hands, fingers, clothes and hair from moving parts. Ideally, none of the underlying machinery should be accessible from a running conveyor system. You should eliminate long hair, jewelry and loose clothing for people who work around or who visit areas with operating conveyors, as these things can be pulled into the mechanism, but the primary defense should always include guards and covers.

People remove guards for a variety of reasons — and none of them are good. They take them off for maintenance, which is fine so long as the conveyor is locked and tagged out. They remove them for access, which means that people are able to reach into places they shouldn’t. They remove them for speed of work, which can be disastrous. Types of common injuries can include crushing, lacerations, muscle injuries, broken bones and more. In severe cases, these dangers can be crippling, may cause loss of limbs or even be fatal.

People think conveyors are “safe” because they typically run slowly, but they are powerful machines to be respected.

One reason conveyors may have inadequate guarding is that used or cobbled-together systems aren’t correctly reassembled. Be sure that your conveyor has its guards and covers. Always operate your conveyors only when safety guards and covers are in place. What are some hazard points?

Guarded by location
Hazards that are guarded by location may include overhead conveyors, where operators physically can’t reach into the machinery, or systems that run in a guarded area where people (other than maintenance staff) aren’t present.

Overhead and ceiling-installed systems
While safety guards aren’t as critical for these areas, it’s best practices to include them. Side guards are usually standard for these conveyors. If there is ever a chance the conveyor will be moved and re-used on the floor, then it’s best to have the guards in place. Aside from safety, these guards can help reduce dust and airborne debris exposure. For floor-mounted conveyors that pass overhead, but are still within reach from the floor, underside pans are recommended to help prevent people from reaching into the system’s idlers or pulleys.