Alert: Conveyor safety in mines
Mine workers working around conveyor belts may be at risk of injury or death. Read this alert to learn more about the rules and regulations of working with conveyors.
Issued on September 26, 2017.
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Mine workers who are required to work around conveyor belts may be at risk of serious injury or death if conveyor ‘pinch points’ are not properly guarded or if the conveyor is not stopped, de-energized and locked out and tagged before works starts on the conveyor.
What you’re required to do by law
Guarding pinch points
Under section 196 of Regulation 854 - Mines and Mining Plants pinch points must be guarded on a conveyor at:
- head, tail, drive, deflection and tension pulleys
- return and carry rollers if the lift of the belt is restricted
If it’s impractical to guard these components, a fence, barricade or gate with an interlocking device must be in place to prevent workers’ access to the pinch points.
If the position or construction of the conveyor provides protection that is equivalent to a guard, fence, barricade or gate with an interlocking device and makes the pinch points inaccessible, then none of these devices is required.
Workers must be trained in locking and tagging procedures.
When a conveyor is being repaired, adjusted or maintained, subsection 196(6) of Regulation 854 requires the conveyor to be stopped and the prime mover de-energized and locked and tagged out, unless:
- it is necessary to run the conveyor during the repairs, adjustments or maintenance; and
- effective precautions are taken to prevent injury to a worker from moving parts
By law every conveyor must have an emergency stopping system that complies with section 196.1 of Regulation 854.
Under section 5.1 of Regulation 854, employers must conduct a risk assessment which considers the:
- nature of the workplace
- type of work
- conditions of work at that workplace
- conditions of work common at similar workplaces
After the risk assessment has been conducted, sections 5.2 and 5.3 of Regulation 854 require employers to:
- give the results to the joint health and safety committee or representative
- develop and maintain measures to eliminate where practicable, or control where impracticable, the hazards or potential hazards identified in the risk assessment
- consult with the joint health and safety committee or representative on developing these measures
- review the risk assessment as often as necessary, at least once a year
To help prevent injury or death from conveyor belt accidents, employers should make sure that effective precautions are in place to protect workers. For example,
- guards should be rigid and secure and openings small enough so that workers are at a safe distance from the pinch points, in case contact is accidentally made with a guard
- guards should be installed to prevent injury whenever a worker has access to a loading, unloading, work station, transfer or discharge point
- any work on the conveyor requiring the conveyor to be operating should be identified, and measures and controls needed to ensure that workers are safe while doing this work should also be clearly identified, for example:
- extending grease lines to outside the guards
- moving conveyor belt adjusters outside the guards so guards do not have to be removed while maintenance or adjustments are being carried out
If you need more information about safety requirements for mining, please contact the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre at 1 877 202-0008 on Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This resource does not replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations, and should not be used as or considered legal advice. Health and safety inspectors apply the law based on the facts in the workplace.