Best Practices for Conveyor Safety

See what the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) has to say about conveyor-specific safety programs and materials that are available for your facility.

Best Practices for Conveyor Safety
Best Practices for Conveyor Safety

Manufacturers and warehouses who are looking for conveyor safety and training materials beyond the manufacturer’s installation and maintenance manuals, or the standard OSHA lockout tagout procedures, can look to the ANSI document “Safety Standard for Conveyors and Related Equipment” or to CEMA, the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association, which started in 1933.

Boyce Bonham, Chief Engineer at Hytrol Conveyor Co. and a long-standing member of CEMA, spoke on Tuesday about conveyor safety in a new Midwest WERCouncil-sponsored webinar “Conveyor Safety: Best Practices in Operation & Safety.”

CEMA’s safety program is multi-faceted, and consists of best practices documents, numerous safety labels that are ANSI Z535 compliant (with placement guidelines), CEMA Conveyor Safety LabelCEMA Conveyor Safety Labela safety poster that is designed to supplement user’s in-house safety program, and a unit handling safety video, which was created to supplement user’s in-house safety training program.


The safety best practices documents include:

  • Design and Safe Application of Crossovers
  • E-Stop Application Guide
  • Design and Application of Spill Guarding
  • Supplemental Guarding
  • Personnel Barriers for Elevated Conveyors

The safety poster includes twelve safety rules and lessons for safe operation and maintenance of conveyors in the facility and is meant to be posted in work areas where employees can review them on a regular basis.

What are the twelve conveyor safety rules?

1.     Do not climb, sit, stand, walk, ride or touch the conveyor at any time.

2.     Do not perform maintenance on conveyor until electrical, air, hydraulic, and gravity energy sources have been locked out or blocked.

3.     Operate equipment only with all approved covers and guards in place.

4.     Do not load a stopped conveyor or overload a running conveyor.

5.     Ensure that all personnel are clear of equipment before starting.

6.     Allow only authorized personnel to operate or maintain material handling equipment.

7.     Do not modify or misuse conveyor controls.

8.     Keep clothing, bodyparts, and hair away from conveyors.

9.     Remove trash, paperwork, and other debris only when power is locked out and tagged out.

10.  Ensure that ALL controls and pull cords are visible and accessible.

11.  Know the location and function of all stop and start controls.

12.  Report all unsafe conditions. Jams should be cleared ONLY by authorized, trained personnel.

Safety Posters2005 Package V2

The conveyor safety video, which is available for purchase on the CEMA website, is used to enhance and educate operators and maintenance personnel on the 12 rules and lessons from the poster.

Additional safety tips offered by Bonham:

1.     Avoid creating hazards when interfacing with other equipment.

2.     Cleaning conveyors is considered maintenance – practice lockout tagout.

3.     Do not modify conveyors without approval of the manufacturer.

4.     Do not remove, disable or alter safety features of conveyors.

Bonham said that beyond learning the safety labels and the twelve rules on the poster, regular safety training by the employer should include teaching the location of controls such as emergency stops and how to use them, and how to report unsafe conditions.

CEMA also offers an “Application Guide for Unit Handling Conveyors” on its website.

To learn more about the Midwest WERCouncil, click here. For general WERC info click here.


Make plans to visit PACK EXPO East in Philadelphia, March 3-5, to see  conveying machinery in action.



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