Conveyor belts are commonly used across many industries to move goods and materials. However, their many moving parts and the machinery required to keep them working present a risk to the workers using them. Construction workers, dock workers, airline workers, and factory workers are just some of people using conveyor belts every day. When workers have been well trained and are not overworked or fatigued, and the conveyor belt machinery is kept in good working order, the risk of injury is minimized. However, there are many factors that can lead to serious and fatal injuries.
There are many different types of conveyor belts including belt, chain, roller, screw, and overhead conveyors. Risk levels can vary due to the differences in construction and moving parts involved, but the main causes of accidents remain the same. The following are some of the causes of conveyor belt accidents:
Conveyor belt accidents can result in many different types of injuries ranging in severity; among the most common are:
Employers have a responsibility to minimize the risks of working with dangerous machinery. Ideally, the design of the work area should eliminate exposure to hazards such as nip points, shear points, and other moving parts. Where this is not possible, guards or other protective devices should be installed, including barriers, grating fences, enclosures, and other obstructions. Secondary safety measures include protection such as emergency stop cables that run the entire length of the belt.
Safety education and training programs for employees are another employer’s responsibility. Without training, workers lack the knowledge they need to recognize hazards and avoid them. Employers should utilize lockout/Tagout procedures for maintenance on equipment. These are safety measures that need to be taught properly as working on equipment that is mobile or energized can result in severe injury to the employee. Employees who identify safety risks at work should report them immediately to their employer.
Workers who have been injured in a conveyor belt accident may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. If the accident resulted in a fatality, death benefits may be paid to surviving family members. In the case of a product defect where faulty equipment caused the accident, a third-party claim may be possible in which case damages for pain and suffering may be sought.
Injuries from conveyor belt accidents can be devastating, changing your life forever in an instant. If you have been injured at work, call Gross & Kenny, LLP, to speak to an experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can help you determine your legal options. Our team knows the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation system and can help you get the compensation you deserve and need to get your life back on track. Call us at 267-589-0090 or 215-512-1500, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.