In collaboration with a key client, E.S.M. devised a model and framework to assess and reduce the risks associated with dropped objects from conveyors.

Conveyors, while integral to material handling across various industries, pose significant risks of dropped objects that can potentially harm people, equipment, and the environment.

The model E.S.M. developed uses a layer of protection analysis (LOPA) to estimate the likelihood and severity of dropped object events from different mechanisms and scenarios. These include belt mis-tracking, sagging, overload, failure, carryback, component failure, and tool drop. The dynamic behaviour of dropped objects, such as deflection and bounce, is also considered to define potential drop zones and exposure areas. The model allowed for the likelihood and severity of each event to be tailored for the conveyor and product characteristics, such as conveyor height and product size and mass.

The model evaluates the effectiveness of existing and potential control measures. These measures include primary and secondary fixing, safety securing, access restrictions, training, inspections, and audits. The model also calculates the risk reduction factor (RRF) for each control measure and the level of risk associated with each conveyor, aligning with the client’s risk management framework. The model can also assess if the control implementation is safe so far as is reasonably practicable in accordance with Work, Health and Safety (WHS) legislation criteria.

The model provides a robust and transparent approach to determine appropriate controls for dropped object hazards from conveyors. It used the best available client data and expert judgement. The model enabled the client to make informed decisions on the selection and prioritisation of which control measures to implement on individual conveyors, and equally importantly, justify where additional controls are not reasonably practicable.

For more information about the quantitative risk-based approach used in this model and how this or similar approaches can be used to assess asset hazards and risks, Contact E.S.M.. The team is committed to delivering high-quality and innovative solutions tailored to the client’s assets, operation and industry.