Guarding of Conveyors
Guarding of Conveyors
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Properly designed guards, and ensuring they remain in place to prevent access to danger zones on belt conveyors, are major steps in preventing amputations, serious mutilation of limbs and deaths at quarry operations. Guarding controls the risk of injury by preventing access to the danger zones such as nip points and shear points associated with moving parts in a belt conveyor. Guarding may also be required to control potential hazards associated with ejected quarry materials or machine components, hot pressurised fluids and people falling into hoppers or silos.

This booklet provides practical guidance on effective guarding of conveyors in fixed and mobile processing plant typically found in quarries. It should not be regarded as an all inclusive conveyor guarding manual because other methods of guarding and risk control measures may apply to specific situations.

Some people may consider guards a nuisance. Others treat them as a necessary evil. How evil can guards be if they help save lives and workers can go home to their families in the same way that they came to work with their fingers, hands and arms in tact?

The main factors in many conveyor related injuries have been poorly designed guards, inadequate provision for cleaning and maintenance, and guards unsuitable for the working environment.

Physical guarding alone may not be adequate to control risks on conveyors. It is essential that everyone involved in the operation of conveyors understands the reason for and the importance of keeping guards in place. They should have adequate training to detect missing or defective guards and training to help them understand why conveyors should not operate unless guards are fitted and correctly placed. Other control measures such as isolation and lockout procedures, easily accessible emergency stop controls, adequate lighting and managing material build-up would compliment protection provided by guarding and play important roles in controlling hazards in and around conveyors.