Safety Guarding 101

Understanding OSHA Standards for Conveyors


Jason Kerkhof

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November 15, 2023

Conveyors play a vital role in various industries, from manufacturing to logistics. They efficiently transport materials and products, streamlining processes and improving productivity. However, these mechanical wonders come with their own set of safety challenges. To mitigate potential risks, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established safety standards specifically for conveyors. In this blog, we'll delve into these standards to help you understand how to keep your workplace safe.


The Importance of Conveyor Safety

Conveyors are versatile machines used in diverse applications including bulk material handling, assembly lines, warehouses, and distribution centers. While they offer numerous benefits, their moving parts and high-speed operation can pose serious hazards to workers. These risks include:

Entanglement: Loose clothing, jewelry, or body parts can become entangled in conveyor belts, leading to severe injuries or even fatalities.
Pinch Points: Conveyors often have pinch points where two moving parts come together, like rollers or pulleys. These areas can trap and injure workers.
Material Spillage: Spilled materials on conveyor belts can create slippery surfaces, increasing the risk of falls.
Electrical Hazards: Conveyor systems are powered by electricity, and electrical faults can lead to fires or shocks.
Overloading: Overloading conveyors can lead to mechanical failures, damaging the equipment and posing safety risks.


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OSHA's Role in Conveyor Safety

OSHA, the federal agency responsible for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions, has established safety standards to address conveyor-related hazards. These standards are primarily found in 29 CFR 1910.22(General Requirements) and 29 CFR 1926.555 (Construction Industry Standards).Let's explore some key OSHA requirements for conveyor safety:

Guarding: OSHA requires that all conveyor belts have proper guarding to prevent contact with moving parts. Guards should be securely in place, and access points must be restricted to authorized personnel.
Emergency Stops: Conveyor systems must have emergency stop controls within easy reach of workers. These controls should quickly stop the conveyor in case of emergencies, reducing the risk of entanglement or injury.
Maintenance and Inspection: Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to conveyor safety. OSHA mandates that conveyors be maintained in good working condition and inspected for potential hazards regularly.
Lockout/Tagout: When maintenance or repair work is needed, OSHA's lockout/tagout (LOTO) standard (29 CFR 1910.147) comes into play. It requires the isolation of energy sources to prevent accidental start-up during maintenance.
Training: Adequate training is essential for employees who work with or near conveyors. They should understand the potential risks and safety protocols for operating and maintaining conveyor systems.
Material Handling: Proper material handling procedures are vital to prevent overloading conveyors and spilling materials. Employees should be trained to handle materials safely and efficiently.
Electrical Safety: Electrical components of conveyors must comply with OSHA's electrical safety standards (29 CFR 1910 Subpart S) to prevent electrical hazards.
Noise and Vibration: OSHA standards also address noise and vibration hazards associated with conveyor systems. Employers must take measures to reduce these risks to acceptable levels.


Conveyors are indispensable in modern industrial settings, but their potential hazards should not be underestimated. OSHA safety standards for conveyors provide a comprehensive framework for ensuring workplace safety. Employers must prioritize compliance with these regulations, including proper guarding, emergency controls, maintenance, and employee training.

Remember, a safe workplace not only protects employees but also contributes to increased productivity and reduced downtime. By understanding and adhering to OSHA safety standards for conveyors, businesses can create a safer, more efficient work environment for their employees while avoiding costly accidents and injuries.