TelestackVan AalstThe Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology Coaltrans Asia 2021TBA GroupTMS Awards 2021
  • Port of South Louisiana
  • Vigan
  • TBA Group
  • Van Aalst
  • Bühler GmbH
  • Cleveland Cascades Ltd

Belt conveyor danger zones

Belt conveyor danger zones

(Posted on 01/05/20)

In bulk material handling applications, a conveyor is typically a massive, complex and extremely powerful system. It’s usually constructed of rubber belting, set on rolling idlers, wrapped around large steel drums at each end and driven by a high-torque motor. As such, a conveyor presents enough danger zones that the entire system should be considered a hazard.

In most applications, a conveyor belt moves at a relatively constant speed, commonly running somewhere between 0.5 and 10 meters per second [≈100 to 2000 fpm]. An Olympic sprinter has a reaction time of about 0.18 seconds (roughly one-fifth of a second) when poised at the starting line and totally focused on the race. If this athlete becomes tangled in a conveyor belt traveling 1.5 meters per second [≈300 fpm], the person would be carried 0.27 meters [≈10.6 inches] before even realizing what has happened.

 A ‘regular’ worker would likely require a longer time to react. For simplicity’s sake, we can assume it would be twice the athlete’s reaction time, so the worker would be pulled twice as far, introducing the potential to strike many more components or to be pulled farther and harder into the first one. In addition, most conveyors are engineered with the ability to start remotely. The system may go from dormant to active at any time at the push of a button, and that ability can suddenly catch a worker unaware, leading to serious injury or death.

“When a conveyor belt is moving, there will usually be more tension on the carrying side,” observed Martin Engineering Process Engineer Dan Marshall. “If the conveyor is merely stopped and de-energized, that tension may remain in the belt in the form of stored energy.”

Marshall reminded that a system under tension will always try to approach equilibrium; that is, it will try to release the energy. This release will likely come in the form of a pulley slip, which occurs when the belt slides around the head pulley to equalize the tension. The distance the belt will move is proportional to the amount of tension stored and the belt’s modulus (elasticity), possibly several feet. If a worker is on the belt or close enough to be pulled in during this sudden release of energy, injuries or death can occur.

“There’s a simple rule of thumb regarding conveyors: If it’s moving, don’t touch it,” Marshall continued. “The most common way to prevent inadvertent contact is with suitable guarding that renders the moving components inaccessible.” For maintenance or repairs, procedures for lockout/tagout/blockout/test-out should always be followed when working on a stationary conveyor, and systems should be equipped with anti-rollback devices (also known as backstops) on the head pulley.

Latest News

Ocean Technologies releases 50 titles in Chinese

(Posted on 29/07/21)

Acknowledging the importance of China as a crew-supply nation, Ocean Technologies Group has added an... Read more


New Product Manager increases Superior’s wet processing resources

(Posted on 29/07/21)

Superior Industries, Inc., a U.S.-based manufacturer and global supplier of bulk material processing... Read more


New Bedeschi project for Italcementi

(Posted on 27/07/21)

Bedeschi has signed a new order with Italcementi for the supply of clay handling equipment and other... Read more


Survitec enhances lifeboat inspection solution

(Posted on 26/07/21)

Leading survival technology provider, Survitec, has relaunched its lifeboat inspection solution underpinned... Read more


Cimbria affirms sustainability focus with new Bamboo Chain Conveyor

(Posted on 23/07/21)

Cimbria, a world leader in the field of high-tech solutions for Grain & Seed processing, has strengthened... Read more


Takraf unloader key to Australian terminal’s expansion

(Posted on 20/07/21)

A TAKRAF double jib level luffing ship unloader has arrived at an important deep-water port on the Australian... Read more


RIX Shipmanagement selects KVH’s CaaS programme

(Posted on 15/07/21)

Global dry-cargo and multipurpose ship operator RIX Shipmanagement Ltd has chosen KVH Industries&rsquo... Read more


ABB’s new digital solution helps optimize ship performance

(Posted on 15/07/21)

New online platform, ABB Ability Marine Fleet Intelligence – Advisory, combines the power of cloud... Read more


Mastermind and DESMI sign BWMS agreement

(Posted on 13/07/21)

Mastermind Shipmanagement Ltd., Navkratis Ltd., and DESMI Ocean Guard A/S have announced that Mastermind... Read more


From Rostock to the world

(Posted on 11/07/21)

Since the start of production in 2005, Liebherr-MCCtec Rostock GmbH has manufactured and delivered well... Read more


TOC EventsSailors SocietyViganBühler GmbHCleveland Cascades LtdPort of South Louisiana
  • Sailors Society
  • TOC Events

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest global news in bulk cargo handling and shipping