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Gravel pit worker dies while cleaning off a stalled conveyor belt - Iowa.

Iowa Department of Public Health
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 96IA033, 1996 Dec; :1-4
A 41-year-old worker for a gravel company was killed while he was cleaning gravel off a transfer conveyor belt. The 30 inch wide rubber belt was moving raw gravel along a slight incline approximately 5-10 feet off the ground for a distance of 225 feet. For an unknown reason, this belt became overloaded causing the electrical breaker to trip. The foreman shut down the entire line and the victim proceeded to clean away spilled material on the sides of the belt with a front end loader, assisted by a truckdriver who was recently hired by the company. When they were finished, the yard foreman told the two men that he was going to the breaker panel to turn the power back on, instructing them to stand clear. When the foreman left this area, the other men were both standing on the ground. The electric panel for the conveyor belts was at a location out-of-sight from the two workers, and there was a few minutes delay while the foreman walked over to the electrical panel area. During this time the victim suddenly noticed that the discharge chute from the incoming belt was also clogged and he quickly climbed up on the belt to clean this chute. At this time the foreman turned the breaker on, and the victim fell down on the moving belt. He was a very big man, in excess of 300 pounds, and could not easily get up or jump off the belt. The victim yelled at the truckdriver, who was running alongside, to shut off the belt, but the driver was unfamiliar with the conveyor system and could not find the emergency shut-off switch. The victim rode the belt for a period of 30 seconds, the entire length of the conveyor, before being pinned under an angle iron motor bracing, which fatally injured him. Recommendations following our investigation are: 1. Starting and stopping of conveying equipment should be possible from the same location, which is in visual sight range of all moving machinery. Starting should also include a warning alarm. 2. Circuit breakers and safety switches should be interlocked to all belts and conveyors on a conveying line. 3. All workers should be thoroughly trained in safety aspects of dangerous equipment, and made aware of all shut off switches and safety devices.
Region-7; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Machine-guarding; Machine-operation; Supervisory-personnel; Training; Gravel-processing; Personal-protection
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-96IA033; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division