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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Safety Idea

Conveyor Belt Skirt Boards

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Mines
Category: Conveyors

An average of forty miners are injured each year by material falling from belt conveyors. Although these injuries are generally not serious, almost half result in lost work time. Over a five-year period, the average number of lost-work days per injury was 12 at metal and nonmetal mines and 23 at coal mines.

The use of skirt boards can limit the amount of material that falls from conveyors and exposes miners to injuries. The cost can be optimized by placing the skirt boards at "high-risk" areas along the belt line, where these type of accidents are more likely to occur.

Photo of conveyor

Photo of conveyor

To reduce such accidents, mine operators should do the following:

1) Install skirt boards on conveyors at locations that have a higher likelihood of material falling off the belt, or a higher chance for miners to be exposed to this hazard, such as:

  • At loading and transfer areas it is recommended that the skirt boards be at least 2-1/2 times longer than the belt is wide, to allow the material to 'settle down';

  • At areas that have unusual features, such as magnets, crushers, and grizzlies;

  • At places where persons regularly travel along or cross under the belt; and

  • At areas where maintenance, clean-up, or inspection activities are frequently performed.
2) At your periodic safety meetings, emphasize the following:

  • In the 'high-risk' areas mentioned above, miners need to be aware of the potential for falling material while doing clean-up, maintenance, or inspection work.

  • Under certain operating conditions, such as when a belt is not fully loaded, material may be more likely to bounce or fall off a belt.

  • When traveling along conveyors (even in a vehicle), miners should keep as far away from the conveyor as possible, without exposing themselves to other hazards.

  • Even small material can cause injury if it falls from a height or from a fast moving belt.

Reissued: 04/30/2002
Tag # AP2002-S043