Port of South LouisianaTBA GroupVan AalstTelestackViganTMS Awards 2023
  • Van Aalst
  • Bühler GmbH
  • TMS Awards 2023
  • Sailors Society
  • Port of South Louisiana
  • Port of Stockton

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

Bühler profits improve as food security demands spark ship unloader orders

(Posted on 14/02/24)

Bühler has successfully navigated a complex and volatile global landscape and increased its profitability... Read more


DNV creates European cyber security services powerhouse

(Posted on 14/02/24)

DNV, the global assurance and risk management provider, has created one of Europe’s fastest growing... Read more


New MacGregor self-unloading system to enhance bulk handling efficiency

(Posted on 11/02/24)

MacGregor, part of Cargotec, has launched a new and augmented gravity self-unloading system that will... Read more


Victoria Steamship supports new Rotor Sail design development suited to bulkers

(Posted on 02/02/24)

Victoria Steamship Company Ltd. is set to support Anemoi Marine Technologies Ltd. with the development... Read more


GDI utilises Skygauge drones for remote thickness measurements

(Posted on 01/02/24)

GDI, an award-winning provider of applied technology solutions, has announced that it has now added... Read more


Platform integration redefines port cost management for shipowners and operators

(Posted on 01/02/24)

DIABOS Global Fze, leading port cost management solution, and Veson Nautical (Veson), the global market... Read more


Responsive conveyor belt tracker improves production and safety

(Posted on 31/01/24)

USA based pioneer in belt conveyor accessories, Martin Engineering, has launched the next generation... Read more


ABB to acquire weather routing business

(Posted on 25/01/24)

ABB has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the shipping business of DTN Europe... Read more


EMS-Tech expands in Canada with west coast office in Burnaby, BC

(Posted on 23/01/24)

EMS-Tech Inc., a global leader in bulk material handling systems, has announced the opening of its new... Read more


Approval for Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell System developed by YANMAR

(Posted on 18/01/24)

ClassNK has issued an Approval in Principle (AiP) for a maritime hydrogen fuel cell system developed... Read more


Geneva DryPort of StocktonSailors SocietyBühler GmbHCimbria
  • Telestack
  • Cimbria
  • TBA Group

Subscribe to our newsletter

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