Port of Vancouver USAPort of StocktonTMS Awards 2020Bühler GmbHCoaltrans Poland 2020TMS Ship Finance & Trade Conference 2020
  • TMS Ship Finance & Trade Conference 2020
  • Coaltrans Poland 2020
  • Bühler GmbH
  • Vigan
  • Telestack
  • 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

Thordon save owners' costs on Mississippi

(Posted on 22/05/20)

The final vessel in a series of five ship-assist tugs has been successfully converted to Thordon&rsquo... Read more


igus opens virtual trade show

(Posted on 22/05/20)

In its virtual trade show, igus presents more than 100 plastic innovations and product range additions... Read more


Pre-engineering key for Superior

(Posted on 18/05/20)

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


Sennebogen and Molson work seamlessly

(Posted on 18/05/20)

Wood is a component part of many products and one of the most important renewable resources of our time... Read more


Magdragon II picks up the pace

(Posted on 12/05/20)

The offshore iron ore transloading barge, Magdragon II, which has two E-Cranes, handled close to 1.5... Read more


Cargotec to change China JV structure

(Posted on 12/05/20)

Cargotec and Jiangsu Rainbow Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (RHI) plan together to change the ownership... Read more


Incus Investor becomes Scana

(Posted on 12/05/20)

The investment company Incus Investor changes its name to Scana ASA and embarks on a new course as parent... Read more


Alfa Laval production remains strong

(Posted on 12/05/20)

Aalborg, Denmark, is the production site for Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 ballast water treatment systems... Read more


Brindisi orders second Konecranes MHC

(Posted on 06/05/20)

In the first quarter of 2020, SIR S.p.A. Servizi Industriali (SIR) ordered another eco-efficient Konecranes... Read more


Ocean Technologies appoints pioneering CHRO

(Posted on 06/05/20)

Global learning and operational technology innovator, Ocean Technologies Group, has appointed Susan... Read more


TMS Tanker Conference 2020Sailors SocietyMULTIMODAL 2020Cimbria Bulk Equipment A/STelestackCleveland Cascades Ltd
  • Sailors Society
  • Cimbria Bulk Equipment A/S
  • TMS Awards 2020

Subscribe to our newsletter

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