Foundations™ Learning Center

Belt Conveyor Safety

Fugitive material increases safety risks in many ways. Accidents can happen, but they can - and should - also be prevented.

Check out these 3 tips to improve the safety of your operation.


MSHA has an increased focus on conveyor safety in hopes to continue to see a decline in conveyor accidents and fatalities. Heavy fines and citations are being issued to those in violation.


Root Causes: 
  • Poor conveyor design
  • Equipment that is hard to maintain or doesn’t promote safety
  • Lack of safety policies formed and followed
  • Lack of proper training for workers whose jobs bring them near belt conveyors


Best Practices: 
  • Conveyor guarding should weigh 50 pounds or less
  • Guarding should have no sharp edges and should stand out in color from equipment it is guarding
  • To increase safety, guarding should require a tool to remove
  • Emergency stop switches need to be tested every 30 days and not span more than 70 feet between switches
  • Emergency stop switches must be tight between emergency switches
  • Every plant should have understood/taught/enforced lockout/tagout rules
  • Conveyors should be blocked out against potential energy

The most overlooked, yet easily recognizable, issue is the link between fugitive material cleanup and safety.

Most accidents occur while cleaning up spillage, carryback, and settled dust. Shoveling material off of the floor can be prevented.