Eliminating workplace accidents and injuries is crucial in today's industry. If you operate conveyor belt systems in your industrial facility, it is mandatory that you guard them so as to protect your workers from harm. The benefits of conveyor guarding solutions extend beyond worker safety. Some of the other notable perks of conveyor guarding include ensuring compliance with worker safety requirements, boosting worker morale/productivity by taking an ergonomic approach to the design of the equipment, decreasing worker compensation claims, decreasing downtime, increasing the lifespan of the equipment, et cetera, et cetera. But for conveyor guarding systems to be effective, they have to be properly designed and installed.
Let's take a look at some of the essential requirements of an effective conveyor guarding system.
It must physically block access to conveyor nip points.
A good conveyor guarding system must protect workers from nip points. A nip point is a point where two moving parts meet or converge and has the potential to cause serious bodily injury if someone is drawn into and trapped in the machinery. Usually, there are so many nip points in conveyor belt equipment, and it is up to the guarding system installers to identify each nip point and make sure it is properly enclosed to prevent physical access to it. Some examples of nip points on conveyors include sprockets, contacting gears, shafts, couplings, fan blades, flywheels, and head, tail and take-up pulleys.
Various types of guards can be used to prevent physical access to conveyor nip points. Close-fitting guards are meant to enclose the nip point; distance guards are meant to keep workers a safe distance away from the nip point; whereas skirting guards are installed where skirts have been clamped above conveyor rollers, for example.
It must not hamper the operation/maintenance of the conveyor equipment.
Preventing physical access to conveyor nip points does not necessarily mean keeping workers from operating the equipment. While ensuring the safety of workers is key, installers of conveyor guarding systems must be careful not to impede operation of the equipment in the process. And, whenever possible, maintenance personnel should be able to inspect the equipment without having to uninstall the guard.
Generally speaking, a good conveyor guarding system should keep workers safe while not hampering their ability to operate and maintain conveyor equipment. The best way to ensure installation of an effective conveyor guarding is to talk to an industry specialist about your specific requirements.