Nicole Rice

Standards Board adopts change to conveyor support rollers rule

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Jan. 22, 2019

The Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board adopted changes to the language pertaining to the guarding of conveyor support rollers. There is a general standard in law (Section 4002(a) of the General Industry Safety Orders) about moving parts on machinery and a more specific section on conveyors (Section 3999(b) of the General Industry Safety Orders) and the moving parts that need to be guarded. Further in that section is a “note” to clarify that the most common moving part on a conveyor – the support rollers – don’t necessarily need to be guarded. This note provides guidance that support rollers are not necessarily among the mandated pieces of moving conveyor parts that require guarding but clarifies that where there is risk for serious injury, they should be guarded.

Last week’s vote resulted in swapping out key language in the “note” that clarifies the specific standard and inserting the code section reference to the Section 4002(a) general standard. To the extent this change removes clarity and changes the industry’s understanding of the need for increased guarding of support rollers, manufacturers, food processors, agricultural operators and all other industries that rely on conveyor technology will incur a substantial compliance cost and introduce new, increased hazards into their facilities with the presence of more guards as more material backs up on the conveyors.

For more information on the Standard Board’s actions, please click here.

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