In 2014, 21-year-old Candace Carnahan was working her summer job at a paper mill near her Canadian hometown. One day she took a shortcut that she had seen many others take before: She stepped over a conveyor belt.
Carnahan’s foot got caught in a pinch point and was pulled into the machine. The conveyor kept running for a few seconds, until a co-worker heard her screams and pushed the manual stop button.
But not before Carnahan’s toes had been severed by the conveyor. Her left leg later had to be amputated.
As with all machinery, conveyors are only as safe as the people using them. Let’s review some common sense safety rules and standards:
Don’t Tread on Me
Workers should never sit on, stand on, climb on, walk on, or otherwise misuse a conveyor — ever. This includes reaching into, climbing over or crawling under the conveyor when it’s in motion.
While this rule may seem fairly obvious, disregarding it is one of the most common causes of injuries involving conveyors.
(Note: The only possible exception to this rule is during maintenance or repair, and then only by qualified technicians.)
Conveyors that are loaded beyond capacity can overheat and malfunction, leading to damage and the potential for accidents due to falling goods. Make sure all workers are aware of the safe operating capacity of every conveyor. Managers must enforce this safety standard — for the good of the workers and the equipment.