If you work in an underground or surface mine here in Alabama, you know you face an inordinate number of dangers every time you go to work. Your employer must do whatever is possible to ensure your safety, including providing you with the proper training and equipment, among other things.
Some of the equipment you may use in the course of your duties may include some sort of conveyor belt system used to transport materials within and out of the mine. Each year, these systems cause serious injuries and deaths to those who work with them, inspect them and repair or maintain them.
Staying safe around conveyor belt systems
In order to decrease the likelihood of injury, you may want to consider the following:
- Your employer should install guarding to provide a barrier between you and the conveyor belt's moving parts.
- Your employer should install visible and audible systems to warn you when the conveyor starts.
- Your employer should install pull cords at strategic locations that will stop the conveyor belt in an emergency.
- If you must repair or maintain the conveyor belt system, make sure that you lock out and tag out the power to it at the source. Someone should always disconnect the power during these times, and if you do the work, you may want to personally make sure there is no possibility of the system powering on during your repair or maintenance.
- Your employer should install usable and practical belt crossing facilities, especially near controls when possible. These crossings should be at strategic locations along the system.
- You should only cross the conveyor belt at these points.
- Your employer should establish policies and procedures regarding the tasks associated with the conveyor belt system and provide you the appropriate training needed in order to safely perform your duties.
Taken together, all of these steps should help protect you from suffering injuries. If you miss even one of these steps, then you could be more at risk. Of course, accidents can happen even under the best of circumstances, so you want to remain vigilant and never take advantage of the safety measures in place.
If you suffer injuries caused by the conveyor belt system
If you do suffer injuries while using or moving near the conveyor belt system, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits to help with your medical expenses. You may also receive a portion of your salary during the time you are unable to work due to your recovery. Most people end up receiving these benefits in a work-related accident, but depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to others as well.