Conveyor systems play a major role in the manufacturing and distribution industries. They are cost-effective and efficient which results in increased production and greater profits. Conveyor systems are relatively simple in design but are still capable of causing injury to workers if health and safety guidelines are not adhered to. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that 30% of workplace injuries are caused by conveyor systems.
In 1998 it became a legal obligation for companies who use conveyor systems in their operations to conduct a PUWER Assessment. This allows health and safety officers to identify sections of the system which may cause injury. Therefore prompting the installation of safety guards and other measures to maintain a safe system. There are a number of other pieces of legislation in place relating to the safeguarding of conveyor systems in the workplace.
Manufacturers design and build their conveyor systems in accordance to this legislation to ensure safety in the workplace. Customers are able to increase the safety of their equipment by including extra safety equipment in their conveyor system. It is essential companies undertake regular monitoring and maintenance of their conveyor systems in order to prevent workplace injuries and accidents.
Conveyor systems have been used in production and the collection of materials for hundreds of years. We only really became aware of the stealthy nature of conveyor systems due to Ford’s car production plants. Until then they just made transporting materials such as coal and wood easier and more efficient. These days we require conveyor systems to increase the speed at which we manufacture goods and prepare them for delivery.
Virtually all factories have followed in Ford’s footsteps by installing modular systems allowing a large number of products to be worked on at the same time. Amazon is a huge example of the need to prepare millions of parcels for delivery in an almost inhuman amount of time. Without miles of conveyor systems we would not receive our order the next day.
The 1998 PUWER Assessment requires companies who purchase generic conveyor systems to add relevant safety features to increase the safety of their system. Companies who purchase bespoke machinery are expected to incorporate safety features at the point of design and construction. PUWER or Provision and User of Work Equipment Regulations, 1998 is one of a number of pieces of safety regulations that are to be adhered to when installing and using mechanical equipment.
Companies must also take the following pieces of legislation into consideration when installing machinery. BS EN 620: 2002 which covers, ‘Continuous handling equipment and systems – Safety and EMC requirements for fixed belt conveyors for bulk materials’. BS 4531: 1986 covering, ‘ Specification for portable and mobile troughed belt conveyors’ and BS 7300: 1990, which is the code of practice, ‘for the safeguarding of the hazard points on troughed belt conveyors’. (Source: HSE).
Conveyor systems can also carry the CE Mark which is a certificate of conformity. This is more difficult to apply to whole systems as certain components may hold the CE Mark but not the system as a whole. It is therefore important to discuss the CE Mark with the manufacturer of your conveyor system. Checking to see if the system conforms to the aforementioned legislation is much more straightforward.
If you would like to find out more about our conveyor systems contact us and we would be happy to discuss your options.