Tarp Roller Caught-In Accidents
Member gins in West Texas already had a couple of accidents where an employee’s arm was caught in a tarp roller. The employee involved in each accident suffered multiple fractures of their arm.
Unpowered, hand-cranked rollers are safer than powered rollers; use them where possible.
We provided these recommendations for use of powered rollers:
Install a spring loaded switch that requires continuous pressure for the roller to operate. Knee-activated switches are the best option we’ve seen.
Tarp rolling is a 2 man job – assign 2 workers. Tarps are heavy, bulky, and when cold may be more difficult to start on the machine. Accident investigations indicate that an individual is not able to free himself or cut power to the machine when he is caught. A second worker present may be able to prevent severe injury.
Train employees in roller operation.
Remind employees not to defeat the safety devices. We have found spring-loaded switches tied closed, wedged to keep the contacts closed, or wired-around.
Gloves have no place around the tarp roller! If gloves must be worn the fingers of the glove should be cut off so that the tips will not be caught in the roll.
No loose clothing should be worn around powered tarp rollers. Sleeves should be buttoned, shirts or jackets buttoned or zipped and tails tucked in.
Monitor activity at the tarp rollers including operation and the condition of the switches. We recommend that supervisory employees from the manager on down make a point of checking the rollers at least once each shift.