Conveyor belts are an indispensable part of many manufacturing processes. Unfortunately, they can also be a source of injury if they are not maintained or operated properly.
Conveyor belts are an indispensable part of any manufacturing process, and no assembly line can work without them. Unfortunately, conveyor belts can also be a source of injury if they are not maintained or operated properly. Lack of safety training and knowledge of the risks and dangers associated with working on conveyor belts also leads to accidents. If the employer fails to provide a safe working environment to the workers and willfully disregards the mandated safety standards, which causes injury to a worker, the employer may be required to pay compensation to the worker in addition to the workers compensation benefits.
Common Causes of Conveyor Belt Injuries
There are some scenarios in which the worker may be able to pursue a personal injury claim for a conveyor belt injury. The bottom line in such cases is that the injury results from negligent policies or actions. Here are some scenarios that may cause an injury to those working with or around the conveyor belt:
- Improperly assembled conveyor belt – if the employer or supervisor fails to follow proper instructions when assembling the conveyor belt or any other machinery, it can put the workers at risk of injury.
- Partially or completely unguarded conveyor belts – it is important to place guard rails in locations where employees may accidentally place fingers, hands, or feet into pinch points. If the employer fails to provide guard rails completely or partially, he may be held liable for the injury.
- Hazardous speed of operation – workers can suffer crush injuries if their limbs get caught between the objects moving along the conveyor belt or between the conveyor belt and the object. If the workers are made to work on a conveyor belt that is running too fast, the employer may be held liable.
- Defective design or equipment – if the conveyor belt injury is caused by a manufacturing or design defect then the injured worker may be entitled to compensation from the belt manufacturer.
- Objects falling from the conveyor belt – if the conveyor belt is overloaded with objects, some objects may fall. Depending on the location of the conveyor belt and weight of the falling object, the worker may suffer serious injuries. In case of an overhead belt, the falling object may cause a serious injury and even death.
- Lack of safety training – if the worker is made to work on a conveyor belt without being provided adequate safety training, then the chances of an injury become very high. In case the injury is caused because of the employer’s failure to provide adequate safety training, the employer may be held liable.
Keeping Workers Safe from Conveyor Belt Injuries
To help prevent conveyor belt accidents in your workplace, here are a few safety tips:
Make Sure The Control Panel and Emergency Stop Buttons Are Easy to Reach and Use
All conveyor belts should be equipped with emergency stop buttons that workers can easily reach in case of an accident. The control panel should also be clearly marked so that operators know which switches control which parts of the conveyor belt. Regularly inspect the control panel to make sure all safety devices are functioning properly.
Ensure That All Conveyor Guards Are in Place
Any exposed moving parts on a conveyor belt should be properly guarded to prevent workers from coming into contact with them. Make sure that all access panels are closed and secured and that any gaps between the guard and the moving parts are small enough that a worker’s fingers cannot fit through them.
Be Watchful of Pinch Points
Pinch points can occur anywhere along the length of a conveyor belt; they are particularly common at points where the belt changes direction or where it passes over pulleys or rollers. Never attempt to clear a jam while the conveyor belt is still running; always shut off power to the machine first. Once power has been shut off, use caution when removing any jammed objects, as they may fall suddenly when dislodged. You should generally use an appropriate tool instead of your hand to clear jams.
Additionally, it is important to tie back long hair, remove loose clothing and jewelry, and secure loose items such as aprons before operating or working near a conveyor belt. Otherwise, you could get caught in the machinery and suffer serious injuries.
Obtaining Workers’ Compensation in Missouri
If you have suffered a conveyor belt injury at the workplace, you may be entitle to workers compensation benefits. In case the injury is caused by a design or manufacturing defect, you may be able to file a third-party claim and get compensation from the manufacturer as well. It is important that you discuss your injury with an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorney.
Speak With a Workers Comp Attorney
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