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Conveying SAFETY

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The Australian mining industry is, without a doubt, a potentially dangerous one.

The unfortunate series of incidents that occurred in early December only demonstrates how seriously safety should be taken on all mine sites. 

All aspects of the site are at risk, and in the ten year period between 2000 and 2010 30 miners were killed in conveyor belt related accidents alone. 

Conveyor manufacturing company Kinder & Co. CEO Neil Kinder explained that "if you consider the huge number of rotating parts, nip points, suspended counterweights, rotating couplings, and a myriad of other issues typically seen on a conveyor alongside human beings then it's surprising that this figure is not higher". 

"Conveyors need to be designed with safe access, for regular inspections and maintenance work. 

"A safe means must be provided so that personnel are not exposed to any danger from the conveyor or surrounding areas when conducting their work." 

He went on to say that even when there has not been an incident, we must remain vigilant on site, as "every time someone gets hurt, or worse, they are not going home to their family in the same condition that they left". 

So how can a site effectively protect its workers around conveyors? 

Machine guarding and safety switches are two ways to prevent accidents. 

Guarding is a reliable way to prevent roller pinch point injuries. 

Emergency stop systems are also another way to combat one of the most common accidents around conveyors - tripping. 

Kinder said pull wire switches provide the most simplistic option for initial setup and adjustment. 

He gave a four point plan for operators avoid accidents when working around conveyor belts.

Firstly - Stop. Don't work or travel near the conveyor while it is operating 

Secondly - De-energise. Turn off all power to the conveyor belt and disconnect the electrical circuit at the break panel or motor control centre. 

Thirdly - Lock and tag. After disconnecting the power lock and tag to ensure the conveyor belt can not be reactivated whilst working around it. 

And lastly - Block from motion. Secure the belt to prevent unintended motion such as belt movement caused by stored energy. 

By following these basic steps operators can ensure they are a little safer over the summer.

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