GuardSmart 137 – Conveyor High-Risk Zones


Conveyor High-Risk Zones

Each year, physical contact with machines and powered equipment accounts for a significant number of life-altering injuries and fatalities. A number of these incidents involve conveyor systems. The majority of these incidents occur during maintenance activities with conveyors still in operation and in unprotected danger zones. 


Typically hazards must be identified and analyzed before any preventive measures are implemented. Belt Conveyor Guarding has created a Conveyor High-Risk Zone Checklist in an effort to aid employers in identifying conveyor danger zones, assessing conveyor hazards and prioritizing safeguarding action plans.


To download and/or print the Conveyor High-Risk Zone Checklist please click here.


Conveyor High-Risk Zone Checklist Overview:
For each zone listed below, assess your risk rating using the following guidelines:

A = Area is unguarded, hazardous conditions exist and guarding is required for compliance
B = Area that requires frequent maintenance or clean outs and guarding needs upgrading
C = Guarding exists but should be improved for compliance
D = Not applicable or no hazards exist

Hazards associated with conveyors are principally mechanical in nature and the typical High-Risk Zone Areas include:

– Tail Pulleys Conveyor High-Risk Zones Tail Pulley Image
– Head Pulleys 
– Gravity Take-ups and Counterweights 
– Snubber Pulleys 
– Additional Drive Pulleys 
– V-belt or Chain Drives 
– Transfer or Load-out Points 
– Skirt Boards 
– Return idlers 
– Troughing Idlers with Obstructions (i.e. ladders) 
– Conveyor Bends 
– Tripper Conveyors 
– Bearing/Rotating shafts 
– Couplings 
– Other ________


Zones that were identified with an “A or B” risk rating, present immediate danger to workers in the area and need to be addressed immediately. Zones that have a “C” risk rating should be reviewed with your Supervisors, Workers and your Joint Health & Safety Committee to determine what improvements are required and establish a reasonable time frame for completion. 

Once hazards have been identified they must be eliminated or controlled by applying and implementing appropriate safeguards and other control measures. It is necessary to carry out a hazard assessment to determine which hazards to address first and to determine the most effective methods of controlling them.


To download and/or print the Conveyor High-Risk Zone Checklist please click here.

Your Stories:
At a rock crusher conveyor system, a worker was replacing a zerk fitting at the tail-pulley bearing when both his hands were caught between the tail pulley and the conveyor belt. The movement of the belt squeezed him against the tail pulley so he could breathe out but couldn’t breathe in. He died of suffocation. It was later discovered that the conveyor carrying crushed rock had been set-up improperly and was constantly mistracking. Maintenance personnel had to remove a 200-lb guard from the tail pulley each time they adjusted the conveyor-belt tracking system, something they were called upon to do many times. Eventually, the guard was never re-installed which directly lead to the tragic fatality.

Helpful Links & References
1. Conveyor High-Risk Zone Checklist | Belt Conveyor Guarding |
 2. Sept 2010 | Lanny Berke | Don’t make these conveyor safety mistakes |
3. Safety Factsheet: Hazards of Conveyors | NYCOSH |

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