Conveyor belts are used in factories across the UK. They are crucial to efficiency, speeding up work and cutting down the need for manual lifting. They are also one of the most dangerous pieces of machinery used in the workplace. For instance, figures show that in the food and drink industries alone, almost a third of injuries caused by machinery involve conveyor belts. When they are faulty, or are not used properly, the chances of suffering a conveyor belt injury, or even a fatality, is high. The type of injury is widespread, and often serious. Most common injuries involve workers getting body parts such as fingers or an arm trapped in a conveyor belt. This can lead to serious crush injuries, broken bones, dislocations and even amputation of limbs.
How do these accidents happen?
Like any piece of machinery, a conveyor belt has the potential to be dangerous. They use great power, and the fact they are constantly moving adds an extra hazard. Many conveyor belts have overlapping parts, and loose clothing, hair, fingers and limbs can get dragged in if correct procedures are not followed. A lack of training in safety procedures can also cause accidents. Your employer has a legal requirement to ensure that where conveyor belts are used they are properly assembled, are working correctly and have the appropriate guards fitted. You must be given appropriate training, and advised on the correct clothing and equipment. When working below overhead conveyor belts, for instance, you should always wear a hard hat in case anything falls off the belt from above.
Other staff acting negligently can also lead to a conveyor belt injury. Workers should take great care to follow the appropriate procedures, and before switching on a conveyor belt should always check that no one is working on or under the belt. They should always check that guards are in place, and that they know where the emergency stop switch is.
Could I launch a successful compensation claim?
If you have suffered a conveyor belt injury within the last three years call us here at Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500. If we think you’ve a good chance of winning our experts will help you through the whole process. We have an enquiry helpline which is open around the clock, and there’s a 30-second claim calculator on our website which can tell you how much compensation you may receive if your claim is successful.
Date Published: January 28, 2015
Author: David Brown