Airport Ground Support
Equipment Resources

Preventing Injuries Caused by Falling Objects Fact Sheet

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Purpose: To prevent potential injuries and damage associated with objects falling from belt loaders, the following is provided as a guide for safe operation.

Loading, Unloading and Walking Around the Belt Loader

Potential Hazards:

  • Too many bags on belt (Figure 1)
  • Hand rails in the up position knocking off bags(Figure 2)
  • Bags not placed on conveyor properly (Figure 2)
  • Conveyor placed at improper height
  • Bags positioned on edge
  • Non-standard baggage
  • Mobility devices (e.g., wheelchairs, scooters)
  • Stacking excess Bags on fenders


Possible Solutions:

  •  Space bags appropriately to prevent jams (Figure 3)
  • Lower hand rails or use off-set fixed handrails to prevent bags from hitting and falling off (Figure 2)
  • Assure the end of the belt is raised appropriately for loading/unloading
  • Place bags flat on belt to maximize surface contact
  • Warn co-workers before placing non-standard/irregular sized bags on the belt
  • Plan ahead, allow time and enough personnel to load/unload mobility devices
  • Stay clear of the sides of the belt
  • Use the baggage barrier
  • Use belt loaders for their intended purpose only
  • Never walk under the conveyor


Additional Resources

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

  • 14 CFR 139, Certification and Operations: Land Airports Servicing Certain Air Carriers. This is part of the electronic code of federal regulations. Specific areas of interest for the airline industry may include:
    • 139.101, Certification requirements: General
    • 139.203, Contents of airport certification manual
    • 139.205, Amendment of contents of airport certification manual
    • 139.329, Ground vehicles

Part 139 Certification. Requires the FAA to issue airport operating certificates to airports that serve scheduled and unscheduled air carrier aircraft with more than 30 seats or that the FAA Administrator requires to have a certificate.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace and workers have rights. OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information, contact your regional or area OSHA office, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or visit

Through the OSHA and Airline Group Safety Panel Alliance, the Airline Ground Safety Panel developed this Fact Sheet for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the official views of OSHA or the U.S. Department of Labor. 01/2013.