Omron’s Four Ways to Keep Your Workers Safe Around Conveyor Systems

MC Omrons Four Ways to Keep Workers Safe Around COnveyor Systems 1 400

February 25, 2022

Conveyor systems play an important role in industries like packaging, food and commodity, and semiconductor manufacturing, and they vary depending on the type, weight, and dimensions of products being transported, and the environment in which they are installed. One thing that all such systems have in common, however, is a certain set of functional safety requirements. A comprehensive approach to keeping your team safe and your machines running will always start with a risk assessment to identify what risks the workers will be exposed to when performing activities like maintenance and troubleshooting. Omron looks at four converyor-related safety considerations you should be aware of. 

1.  Be sure to guard all pinch points. 

The idea of a pinch point seems self-explanatory, but there are actually several categories of areas that could be pinch points. As detailed in OSHA 1910.211(d)(44), these are places where part of a person’s body could be caught:

  • •Between the moving parts of a press or auxiliary equipment,
  • •Between moving and stationary parts of a press or auxiliary equipment, or
  • •Between the material and moving part (or parts) of the press or auxiliary equipment.


Nip points are a subcategory of pinch points that involve rotating objects like gears, rollers, belt drives and pulleys. Although the choice of guard will depend on the specific characteristics of the machine, it remains necessary that all pinch points must be guarded to keep operators safe.

2.  Select the appropriate emergency stop devices.

Since conveyors come in different lengths and layouts, it does not always make sense to use a typical pushbutton emergency stop. This is because workers might not always be close enough to reach the button and stop the system when an emergency occurs.

A cost-effective approach would be to use a rope switch, which offers a range of spans. Rope switch installation is simple and can be done all along the conveyor’s perimeter. This means that a person working at any point of the conveyor will have easy access to the safety device and will be able pull the cord to stop the system if necessary.

3.  Design a working safety circuit. 

All safety input devices, including E-stop pushbuttons and rope switches, must be connected to safety-rated logic devices (either safety monitoring relays or a safety controller). Non-safety-rated devices are insufficient for this purpose and should not be used.

Built-in self-monitoring capabilities and redundant circuits are important for ensuring that the safety function prevails in the case of a component failure like a short circuit. The system should also automatically test the correct opening and closing of the safety devices in each on-off cycle.

4.  Make sure your operators are well trained on safety. 

Once you have implemented a safety solution, and it has been validated and verified, the next step is training. You will need to train workers on the important conveyor rules, including general operation and maintenance. You should also consider training on functional safety to make sure that everyone understands how safety devices work and how they should be maintained.

Since many conveyor-related injuries occur when workers are performing maintenance activities, putting clear lockout/tagout policies in place and training them on the use of lockout devices to isolate energy sources for machinery to prevent accidental activation is key.

Want to learn more about our safety services? Click here 

 MC Omrons Four Ways to Keep Workers Safe Around COnveyor Systems 2 400





Related Articles

  • Humber College Receives $30 Million Gift from the Barrett Family Foundation

    Humber College Receives $30 Million Gift from the Barrett Family Foundation

    January 27, 2023 Humber College is the recipient of a $30 million gift from the Barrett Family Foundation, marking the largest single donation made to an Ontario college. Combined with their donations to Humber’s Unlimited Campaign, the Barrett Family Foundation has given a total of $42 million, making their donation the largest in Canadian college history…. Read More…

Latest Articles

  • Rotary Encoders for Harsh Environments

    January 30, 2023 Rotary encoders are electromechanical devices that provide feedback on the rotational movement of an axle or shaft. Comprising two parts – a reader and a scale – they typically accomplish this task either by either “absolute encoding” or “incremental encoding”: Absolute encoders measure the precise angular position of the reader relative to… Read More…

  • Energy Technology Perspectives 2023

    Energy Technology Perspectives 2023

    Energy Technology Perspectives 2023 highlights major market and employment opportunities, as well as the emerging risks, for countries racing to lead the clean energy industries of today and tomorrow. The energy world is at the dawn of a new industrial age – the age of clean energy technology manufacturing – that is creating major new markets and millions of jobs but also raising new risks, prompting countries across the globe to devise industrial strategies to secure their place in the new global energy economy, according to a major new IEA report. Read More…

Featured Article

Access Management for Your Plant and Machinery

With PILZ’s “Identification and Access Management” portfolio, they offer you a comprehensive range of products, solutions and software for the implementation of safety as well as security tasks. Below you’ll discover more about potential applications, from simple authentication to complex access permissions, and access management through to safe operating mode selection, maintenance safeguarding and safeguarding of data and networks. Experience safety and security in one system!

This solution ensures that a machine cannot resume operation while people are still in the danger zone. The maintenance safeguarding system “key-in-pocket” is designed for machines with danger zones, which are protected by a safety fence and which staff need to access – robot cells for example. In comparison with conventional lockout-tagout (LOTO) systems, maintenance safeguarding with the key-in-pocket solution is implemented via RFID keys with corresponding permissions and a safe list in the PILZ controllers. As a result, it provides a purely electronic restart protection and makes both mechanical interlocking devices and warning tags redundant.

Read more


  • The One Stop Shop for Industrial Sensors

    January 30, 2023 POSITAL understands how frustrating and costly it can be when your operations are standing still because of a broken encoder. They are here to help! The new webshop of POSITAL aims to make it easier for purchasers or MRO customers to get the parts they need to keep their machines running and… Read More…

  • New Schmalz End-of-Arm Tooling Components from AutomationDirect

    January 30, 2023 AutomationDirect now offers end-of-arm tooling components for robot arm vacuum pick-and-place applications. Components can be purchased individually or in kits that include everything needed to create a single-beam or dual-beam end-of-arm tool. End-of-arm tooling components for vacuum pick-and-place systems are used to create tooling that connects to the end of a robot… Read More…