A young mill worker in Nova Scotia is lucky to be alive after being trapped in a conveyor belt recently.
The 20-year-old employee of the Group Savoie lumber mill in Westville, NS, got caught between one of the conveyor's rollers and the belt on March 16. (The conveyor is used to move lumber waste from the mill.)
A report by the Nova Scotia labour department stated the employee entered an area below the belt to remove a piece of jammed wood from the tail pulley. It was usual practice to leave the belt running while removing jammed pieces of wood. But for reasons unknown, the employee's hand and arm were pulled into the contact point of a roller.
According to a police report, the worker was lifted off the ground by the overhead conveyor. A co-worker apparently saw the man's body hanging there before the power was shut off.
Plant workers managed to free the injured employee by loosening the bolts on the roller and using pry bars. The victim suffered various injuries, including broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
Following a mill inspection, the labor department ordered the company to do the following:
- Install a barrier with signs to indicate that no one is permitted to enter the area below the belt without first shutting down the belt.
- Install guards to reduce or eliminate any possibility of contact with pinchpoints at both end drums of the conveyor.
- Perform an assessment of the mill to identify and correct any similar issues with belts or pinchpoints.
- Have a written procedure to ensure the waste belt is stopped before anyone enters the area below the belt. All affected employees are to be made aware of this procedure.
Info to go:
For information on conveyor belt safety, visit http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/conveyor_safety.html