Conveyor Guarding

Achieving an acceptable level of risk

Presentation by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

The Act

Division 1 Control and management of risk

Section 26 - What is an acceptable level of risk

(1) For risk to a person from operations to be at an acceptable level, the operations must be carried out so that the level of risk from the operations is -

(a) within acceptable limits; and

(b) as low as reasonably achievable

(2) To decide whether risk is within acceptable limits and as low as reasonably achievable regard must be had to -

(a) the likelihood of injury or illness to a person arising out of the risk; and

(b) the severity of the injury or illness.


The Regulation

Part 10 Plant Generally

Section 100 - Selection and design

A person who has an obligation under the Act to manage risk at a mine in relation to the selection and design of plant must ensure the plant incorporates appropriate engineering controls to protect the plant operator and other persons.

  • Example of engineering controls - guards on moving parts, rollover protection, falling object protection, noise insulation or seatbelts
  • Where is the community expectation for guarding on conveyors documented?

Recent Serious Accidents

  • On 15th November 2018, two operators removed a guard from the tail drum of a conveyor to facilitate the removal of rocks from the return side of the belt while the conveyor was running. One of the operators caught his hand between the belt and drum. He was pulled into the conveyor by his arm and sustained fatal injuries.
  • On 6th June 2012, a worker was on an access walkway adjacent to the gravity take-up unit (GTU) of a conveyor. He was attempting to grease the upper roller of the GTU, when he was dragged in by the conveyor belt, becoming trapped between the roller and a support beam. He was fatally injured as a result.
  • A mechanical apprentice conducting routine conveyor inspections at a quarry used a hammer to tap a seized troughing idler while the conveyor was running. To reach the idler, the apprentice put his arm through a ladder cage creating a shear point. The hammer was caught by the conveyor belt and pulled the apprentice's arm into the shear point trapping him. He suffered serious injuries to his arm as a result.
  • A 17-year-old quarry worker was using a screwdriver to clear build-up from a rotating tail drum. The screwdriver was caught by the tail drum and pulled the worker's arm into the nip point. The worker suffered fractures to his arm and wrist and frictional burns.
  • A 61-year-old worker sustained serious injuries at a quarry when the steel bar he was using to track a conveyor became jammed in the rotating tail drum. He has his hand crushed, between his thumb and pointer finger, when the steel bar wedged itself against the chassis of the screening machine.


Australian Standards

AS/NZS 4024.3611:2015 Belt conveyors for bulk materials handling