Airport Ground Support
Equipment Resources

Preventing Pinch Point Injuries

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Belt Loader Fact Sheet

Preventing Pinch Point Injuries



Purpose: To prevent pinch point, amputation and caught in-between injuries associated with belt loaders


Pre-Operation Inspection


Perform a pre-operational inspection. (Figure 1)


General Operation of Belt Loaders


Potential Hazards:


  • Equipment malfunction
  • Figure 1 – Example of pre-operational inspection

    Moving parts

  • Pinch points
  • Distance between belt loader and aircraft/other equipment
  • Distraction




Figures 2-5 – Examples of caught in-between hazards

Figure 2 – Space between belt and spacer                             Figure 3 – Space between belt and spacer



Figure 4 – Top of belt loader roller             Figure 5 – Roller located under the conveyor belt




Possible Solutions:


  • Maintain adequate distance between aircraft and belt loader
  • Ensure conveyor emergency stop buttons are operational (Figure 5)
  • Perform safety stop(s) while approaching aircraft
  • Keep all body parts clear of the conveyor belt while raising up to or lowering away from the aircraft (Figure 6)
  • Keep all body parts inside the aircraft cargo bin
  • Keep all body parts and loose clothing clear of the conveyor belt while it is moving
  • Only breakaway lanyards must be worn
  • Do not walk or ride on a moving conveyor belt
  • Install appropriate guarding for all exposed machine components where possible
  • Maintain situational awareness
  • Ensure finger guards are periodically inspected and positioned correctly
  • Do not walk under raised portion of the belt loaderFigure 6 – Emergency stop button  Figure 7 – Individuals should not sit on the cargo bin
  •                                                                                                        floor with their legs dangling out of the aircraft

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.