There are many different types of conveyor systems, and they convey many different types of loads. There are powered conveyors, which run on an engine of some sort, and gravity conveyors, which move their loads by gravity. Some conveyors use belts, some use chains, still others use rollers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) details safety guidelines for the use of conveyors in several work environments.
OSHA's safety guidelines for conveyors apply to most applications of the equipment. The primary applications noted by OSHA are longshoring, construction and mining, though their guidelines also apply to any warehousing, material handling, logistics or other workplace uses for conveyors. Small conveyors used by individuals for home improvement projects or moving are not covered by OSHA's safety guidelines.
OSHA requires that conveyors be assembled in such a way that they are stable. Pieces of the conveyor should be firmly attached so that loads cannot separate the pieces, nor fall between the pieces. Conveyor supports must be stable and secure, and must be strong enough that they will not buckle as a load passes over them along the conveyor system.
For powered conveyors--that is, conveyors powered by an engine or electric motor--a set of controls must be available near the engine or motor, including an emergency brake. For conveyors that have a remote control center, this can mean a second set of controls on or near the conveyor system.
If conveyors are at the same level as personnel--that is, they are not overhead--and if they are carrying loads that could potentially fall over the side, guard rails must be present that are higher than the center of gravity of the loads most commonly carried on the conveyor.
For overhead conveyors, safety netting must be in place below and on the sides of the conveyor to protect personnel working below. If the conveyor is installed against a wall, the netting only needs to be below the conveyor and on the side of the conveyor opposite the wall.