How to look after your conveyor systems and avoid six-figure fines – says CSL

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Materials handling experts at Conveyor Systems Limited (CSL) has issued a warning to companies using sub-par conveyor installations not to neglect the maintenance of their equipment, following a number of serious accidents and near misses reported in the UK.

Enormous fines issued due to conveyor injuries.

[NB: The below are some examples which are in evidence, as case studies. These are not related to any installations conducted by CSL.]

At a hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court last year, a textiles and workwear company was found guilty of breaching PUWER regulations in relation to the firm’s conveyor system, following a serious hand injury suffered by a member of staff. The company was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £5,919 in prosecution costs, thanks to an excessively large gap between rollers.

In two further incidents, two food manufactures were fined £800,000 each for severe injuries caused by inadequately guarded conveyor belts, highlighting shocking lapses in attitudes towards conveyor safety.

Regular maintenance, safety upkeep and breakdowns damage revenue and reputation

As well as safety concerns, there’s also the impact that poor conveyor maintenance can have on a company’s ability to operate efficiently. Without proper maintenance, all equipment is susceptible to break downs, causing delays potentially amounting to thousands of pounds of lost revenue, as well as damage to a company’s reputation due to late deliveries. In some cases, a company’s products can even be damaged by faulty or poorly maintained conveyors.

Conveyor warning signs to look out for

To draw attention to some of the warning signs, CSL has created a handy infographic, for people to use in their facility, highlighting the things people need to look out for including:

  • Noisy, missing or failed rollers
  • Missing safety guards
  • Missing line shaft coupling covers
  • Knocking or grinding sounds
  • Frayed belting
  • More frequent malfunctions
  • Excessive vibrations, which could indicate issues with bearings, motors, or belts

Ed Wainman, Aftersales Manager at CSL commented: “We pride ourselves on supplying only the safest and highest quality conveyor systems, and a superior aftersales service. Don’t wait until a minor issue turns into a major disruption. Conveyors play a critical role in your business’s success and yet are easily overlooked.

“We know from experience that people may view conveyor maintenance as low priority and push it to the back of the financial queue. But as recent cases from within the industry, demonstrate, if the original installation is non-compliant with the relevant standards or has been neglected, this can lead to serious injuries and major financial and reputational implications in the long run.”

The importance of maintaining conveyor systems for ecommerce distribution centres, 3PLs and warehouses cannot be overstated. By putting regular maintenance practices in place, businesses can keep their conveyor systems running smoothly, reducing downtime and prolonging the lifespan of their equipment. As well as the practical benefits, thorough conveyor maintenance is really a non-negotiable as it will ensure compliance with legal safety regulations.

For more information visit CSL here

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