Conveyor belt safety is all about expertise, experience and mindfulness. This, applied in the strictest terms, will be uppermost in the mind of supers or managers overseeing belt splicing work. Anything that needs to be done in this connection requires knowing the necessary regulations for safety in high risk work.
All stakeholders in operations here often work with utmost diligence when it comes to safety. Still, accidents and mistakes are bound to happen. Experts and experienced managers and workers will know entire books on conveyor belt safety standards, systems, features and checklists when and if they work on a belt splicing job. These all boil down to the following steps:
- Inform everyone in management and workers in the area, plant or mine that they are de-energising the conveyor belt before splicing is done.
- Put up warning signs and post somebody in the team to stand as lookout on the outside circle of safety.
- To secure all components on the job, make sure the belt being worked on is blocked.
- De-energise power and then tag or lock visual disconnect before the job. (The team involved should also carry their own locking and tagging devise. If you’re wondering why operators do not simply put belt switching into stop mode, this will not actually de-energise electricity.)
- The lock and tag process should be performed by the one who is going to do the belt splicing job. (This person will be the one to remove the locks and tags after the work is done.)
- When the splice is done, ensure that everyone clears off the area around the conveyor system. Inform everyone that the belt will be restarted. Only then should the lock and tag be removed.
- Restart belt.
The Physics: Basis For Expertise In Belt Splicing Work
A typical conveyor belt is supposed to run an eternal loop. Any damage, break, extra length or weakness in a belt will ruin the endless join and perfect length necessary for a belt to perform its functions. The forces that affect its performance are, for sheer unpredictability, some of the most powerful and damaging when unregulated. These are:
- The speed and momentum provided by a spinning loop and any added on weight.
- Shear and gradient forces.
- Huge amounts of raw materials running through any given point on the belt at any step in processing.
- Rising temperatures and damage on all moving parts caused by friction and electrical currents.
- The strength of conveyor belt materials or parts and the stresses built into them to run reliably.
A splice therefore is not only just about joining or resurfacing a belt, it is about getting all the math right on the physics. Any miscalculations can result in damage — to machines, materials or even human lives. Also, conveyors are subject to all the damage factors mentioned and will naturally require adjustments in length from time to time. A squiggly roll for instance may be a sign a belt has lengthened through stress and can be mistracking — many warning signs apply.
There are no ifs or buts when such a sign is discovered. Work must be scheduled and qualified experts gathered to immediately address the problem, which starts by their reviewing conveyor belt safety standards and using specific belt safety regulations and solutions.
Safety Leadership And Professionalism In High Risk Jobs
A certificate for capability to do high risk work is not the thing that makes operations safe in belt splicing. However, all pros in this niche know that the certificate is gold in the hands of a real trouper. This trouper has the actual eyes and ears working for management out on belt installations needing repairs or length adjustments.
Any company or management running operations in mining, manufacture or construction with conveying systems know that these are delicate but high performance things. Safety leadership in conveyor guarding requirements is not only an important concept here, but something that makes operations sustainable. One excellent thing that can be done by management is to constantly police their own operational policies and upgrade as innovations and new conveyor safety equipment come up. They should also closely follow or fulfil regulations like Australian Standards Catalogue SF-025: Guarding Of Conveyors.
Professionalism is mindfulness at the highest level. To know, calculate, and predict patterns and apply these in belt splicing work requires laser focus, and safety measures are built into these.