Conveyor belts cause injuries to workers in every manner of the workplace, from warehouses to factories. Conveyor belts are dangerous heavy machines that move thousands of pounds of material and objects daily and can easily crush a human worker’s hand or limb.
Conveyor Belts Can Cause Serious Injuries
Conveyor belts are ubiquitous. They are present in grocery stores, warehouses, factories, and even in some restaurants. Conveyor belts eliminate thousands of hours of labor that would otherwise be spent by humans pushing carts or carrying objects back and forth. Conveyor belts are great at reducing stress on human bodies and improving overall workplace safety.
However, conveyor belts are also hazardous. Conveyor belts vary in size, speed, and pull strength, but they all share one common feature – they keep working until they can’t. Conveyor belts can cause serious injuries to workers if proper safety procedures and technologies aren’t utilized.
Causes of Conveyor Belt Injuries
- The conveyor belt is not assembled correctly. Conveyor belts are heavy-duty machines that need to be assembled correctly, or the mere operation could cause a serious injury or permanent damage to the belt.
- The belt is unguarded. The belt on the conveyor (the strip that moves the stuff) is one of the primary places where a worker can get injured. Modern conveyors use guards to prevent workers from accidentally placing a hand or other body part on the belt.
- The conveyor is too fast. Conveyor belts cannot move more quickly than a human can safely work on and with the belt. Belts can crush and pinch workers. Managers may be tempted to increase the speed of the conveyance to increase productivity; however, the work-stop caused by an injury far outweighs any marginal increase in productivity.
- Inadequate safety training. Employers sometimes place too much emphasis on training productivity and not enough on safety.
- Falling items. The objects moving on the conveyor can cause injuries to the head or back, or heavy objects can fall and crush feet, toes, and ankles. Objects fall off conveyors if the belt moves too fast or if it is overloaded.
Workers need to know how to perform their duties but also how the equipment they work with operates. With greater knowledge, these workers are empowered to use these machines efficiently and safely – with an appreciation for how dangerous these machines are.