Safety Alert - Fatalities on conveyor systems (Safety Information Notice)

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 09:46

There have been two recent fatalities involving material conveyor systems.  In both cases individuals appear to have been involved in maintenance on the conveyor mechanism. 

This safety information note is to recommend that all operators of such equipment review their safe systems of work and check that there are effective means of:

  • preventing entrapment whilst the equipment is being operated
  • ensuring that equipment cannot be operated whilst persons are inside or working on the equipment

Both accidents are still under investigation.

Port of Bilbao

13 October 2016.  A maintenance worker at a stevedoring company operating in the port, had been performing maintenance tasks (thought to be clean-up).  He had finished work for the day and was about to leave. At approximately 14.15 he was seen to be caught by the conveyor, which carries cargo to/from the vessel and silos, and dragged into/along the conveyor system.  The alarm was raised.

Emergency services attended and found the man in a serious condition.  He had lost his arm and shoulder and was also suffering from a major chest injury.   These were all locally reported to be crush injuries.  The rescue was further complicated as it had to be carried out approximately 15m above the ground.  Rescue services used an aerial platform to access the position.

The casualty, a husband and father, was airlifted to hospital but tragically he died the next morning from his injuries.

Operations at the port include: breakbulk, general cargo, Ro-Ro and bulk (such as: coal, grain and chemical products).  The accident took place at a facility handling sodium sulphate for export. The terminal web page can be found here

Conveyor Maintenance Fatality (UK)

This alert has been kindly provided by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) from their site:

Date: 20/10/2016             INCIDENT No: 01442

A fatality has occurred whilst maintenance work was being undertaken on a conveyor belt. Companies are advised to review their risk assessments and safe systems of work.

HSE Codes and Guidance

The HSE has excellent resources concerning provision of work equipment.  See link to PUWER

Learning materials

The following information is available on safequarry/youtube:

Safe Guarding:
This presentation is intended to raise awareness of the issues surrounding guarding, to prompt review of existing guarding by management and ensure guarding standards are to an acceptable level. (Link)

Safety Alerts:

Learning points from an incident where the light curtain failed. Click here

Learning points from a near miss from an improper isolation of a conveyor Click here 

Isolation Posters:
Two posters designed to remind operators of the importance of following isolation procedures

Click here 

Click here

Conveyor Demonstration Safety Unit: demonstrates hazards of conveyor nip points

Seven short videos produced by CEMEX

Tarmac Isolation Video

Toolbox Talks: on Conveyor Belt Safety

By sharing information on near misses and accidents MPA and PSS hope that you will be able to identify where similar risks may exist in your operations and learn from the experience of others how these risks may be minimised.