Accidents resulting from manual handling of materials have been reduced by the application of conveyors and conveyor systems. The ANSI/ASME B20.1-Safety Standard for Conveyors and Related Equipment, in the absence of any OSHA Conveyor Safety Regulations, is at present the best available source for information necessary to further reduce conveyor accident rates. The ANSI Standard describes the safe practices to be followed in the design, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of conveyor equipment. A six-step Conveyor Safety Strategy is also outlined for the owner/operator to follow to aid in implementing a conveyor safety program.


  • The use of conveyors has reduced accidents.

  • However, for further accident reduction, safer Design, Installation, Operations, and Maintenance are needed.

  • Design and Installation requires competent engineers.

  • Operations and Maintenance requires trained personnel.

  • The ANSI Conveyor Standard provides safety guidelines for Design, Construction, Installation, Operation, and Maintenance.

  • Responsibilities for standards application are divided among the Owners/Operators, Engineers, Contractors, Sales Reps, and Manufacturers. (Reference Table 1)

  • Contracts and Sub-Contracts MUST be written to detail all parties' responsibilities for safety.

  • Maintenance and Operational Training are equally important as Design and Installation Engineering.

  • The Owner/Operator is responsible for initial and on-going training.

  • Compliance with this ANSI Standard may not prevent all accidents, but will provide a safer work environment.

Table 1. Responsibilities for standards application are divided among Owners/Operators, Engineers, Contractors, Sales Reps, and Manufacturers (available in full paper).


  • Applicable to design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance.

  • Applicable to bulk material, package, and unit handling conveyors and systems.

  • Applicable to permanent, temporary, or portable operations.

  • Does not apply to "people movers" or conveyor equipment with standards, as for example mine conveyors.

  • Also does not apply to "integral machine transfer devices".


  • Other Codes and Standards are cited. (Reference Table 2)

  • This Standard is supplementary to laws and codes covering fire and health.

Table 2. Other Codes and Standards referenced (available in full paper).


  • Safe operation

  • Safe maintenance

General Safety Standards

  • Convey only specified materials at rated speed.

  • For special use apply "good industry practice".

Maintenance (Repair)

  • Use only qualified and trained personnel.

  • Establish a Maintenance Program.

  • No maintenance allowed when unit is operating except for inspection, lubrication, or adjustment.

  • Lock-Out/Tag-Out requirements for all other maintenance.


  • Provide backstops, brakes, and overload protection to protect against equipment or product damage and personnel injury. (Warnings may also be required.)

  • Gates and switches are to be designed to prevent conveyed materials from discharging into open areas. If powered, designed to prevent failing in case of a power failure. (Reference Exhibit 1)

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