Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may have given conveyor safety the short shrift, the industry itself is giving serious attention to the issue. As reported in the February issue of DC VELOCITY, the federal agency has never enacted conveyor safety standards, but manufacturers have worked hard both to develop safe equipment and to guide conveyor users on safe practices through the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) and through voluntary standards produced by the American National Standards Institute and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
"Safety has always been a major consideration of all conveyor manufacturers," says Robert A. Reinfried, executive vice president of CEMA. Over the years, he says, the organization has developed a series of safety programs that address hazards found around conveying equipment.
One of those programs provides for the distribution of safety labels, posters and videos. The organization currently offers a large inventory of "caution," "warning" and "danger" safety labels as well as a brochure that discusses known hazards of conveying equipment. The brochure includes guidelines for placing labels on different categories of conveyors (the guidelines can also be found on the organization's Web site, www.cemanet.org). CEMA has sold more than 13 million safety labels since the program began in 1993, Reinfried reports. To encourage use of the labels, the organization has waived most of its copyright protection—the rules for use can also be found at the Web site.
Recently, CEMA introduced a series of safety posters for use as part of a DC safety program. The posters are available for screw conveyors, bucket elevators, package conveyors, baggage conveyors and bulk conveyors and can be downloaded from CEMA's Web site. Videos available from the organization include a 20- minute presentation on unit handling conveyors and a 13-minute safety video on screw conveyors, drag conveyors and bucket elevators.
In the absence of OSHA standards, the major safety standard for the industry, developed by a committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, is encoded by ANSI as the ANSI/ASME B20.1 standard. ANSI describes the standard as applying to the design, construction, installation, maintenance, inspection and operation of conveyors. The standard is available as a 26-page booklet from ASME for $48. A separate standard, ANSI/ASME B15.1, covers mechanical power transmission for conveyors and other stationary equipment. That standard is available from ASME as a 28-page booklet for $42. The main ASME Web site is www.asme.org.