Conveyors are generally considered to be productivity-enhancing tools for warehouse, industrial facilities, and distribution centers operations. However, conveyor injuries in the U.S. cost employers millions of dollars every year. This, despite the fact they are generally safer than other materials handling alternatives if they are maintained, designed and properly operated.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports over fifty workplace fatalities a year where conveyors are the primary source of injury. Workplace injuries account for nearly 25 percent of all workers’ compensation claims and up to 35 percent of all associated costs.

Supervisors and workers will benefit by observing some general safety rules when operating conveyors. The following recommended operating procedures apply to all conveyor installations:


Have only authorized and trained personnel perform conveyor maintenance service.

Instruct workers to keep clothing, fingers, hair, and other parts of the body away from moving parts of a conveyor.

Ensure ALL workers know the location and function of all START/STOP controls.

Ensure all START/STOP and emergency controls are clearly marked and free from obstructions.

Ensure all workers are clear of a conveyor before starting it.

Have only trained personnel operate the conveyor system.

Have operators wear appropriate clothing, and avoid wearing loose clothing, near moving conveyors.

Require workers to report all unsafe practices to a supervisor.


Lockout and tagout the system before performing any maintenance service.

Lockout and tagout the system before working on a bogged or overloaded conveyor.

Don’t repair or provide maintenance while the conveyor is operating.

Don’t clean belts, pulleys, drum, and trough or return idlers while a conveyor is operating.

Don’t climb, step, sit, or ride on conveyor at any time.

Don’t walk under a moving conveyor unless the route is guarded against spillage.

Don’t load a conveyor outside of its design limits.

Don’t remove or alter conveyor guards or safety divides.

Keep the areas around conveyors clear of obstructions.

COPYRIGHT ©2005, ISO Services Properties, Inc.