If you have friends in the construction industry, you probably worry about their safety when they say that they’re working on housing developments or laying the foundation for a new high-rise. But the truth is that these hardworking laborers are constantly surrounded by dangerous machines in the workplace—one of the most common dangers may even follow him as he walks across the site.
Conveyor belts are a notorious hazard at New Jersey construction sites. These machines speed, sort and carry millions of materials per day—vertically, horizontally, and even around corners—causing numerous construction worker conveyor belt accidents involving:
- Belts. The most common type of worksite conveyor, this device has a rolling belt wrapped around pulleys with take-up and discharge ends. The most dangerous points on these devices are the entry and exit, areas where the belt changes direction, points where multiple conveyors are joined, and nip points along the belt.
- Chains. Chain conveyors are most dangerous when the chains are exposed—often a necessity, since enclosing the chain may affect the functionality of the conveyor. Likewise, guarding devices on chain conveyors may interfere with normal operation, so the usual safety measures are often limited to cordoning off the area or relying on hazard warning signs.
- Rollers. An unguarded roller device may easily cause crushing injuries or sudden amputations in a matter of seconds. It is vital that all installed safeguards on these devices remain in place, and that measures be taken to adjust the workspace when loading smaller or oddly-shaped materials.
- Screws. As the in-going nip points of turning screw conveyors are especially dangerous, OSHA recommends encasing the entire length of the screw conveyor—except for the loading and discharge points—in a secured housing that cannot be opened during operation. If this type of guard is not possible, the conveyor should at least be guarded by a railing or placed in a location that will allow enough distance and space for the safety of the workers.
Another recently adopted safety measure to help avoid conveyor belt accidents is the use of clear plastic shielding to offer protection while still allowing workers to inspect the operations of the device. These can be used down the length of the conveyor and can also be used for high side walls on the belt exit to prevent employees from reaching or falling into the trough. Unfortunately, these measures are both costly and optional—leaving many workers to suffer from their employer’s unwillingness to spend profits on safety.
If you know a construction worker who has suffered a conveyor belt accident, please feel free to send them a link to this article via email or Facebook. New Jersey construction accident lawyer Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr. has helped countless injured workers get maximum compensation for their losses, and we do not charge our clients anything until we win their case.
Call our offices today at 877-360-0183 or click the link above to download our FREE informational guide, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.