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Material Handling Blitz

 

Starting in September, for the next 6-weeks, the Ministry of Labour will be conducting a Material Handling Blitz.

Material handling hazards can lead to very serious worker injuries and even death. Workers are at risk of back injuries & musculoskeletal disorders as well as, injuries from being struck by, caught between or crushed by tools, materials, equipment or vehicles. According to the 2012 WSIB's Enterprise Information Warehouse, musculoskeletal disorders & contact with objects and equipment accounted for almost 70% of all lost time at work. Proper material handling prevents these kinds of injuries,

Ministry inspectors will be checking workplaces for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations. In particular, they will check that employees:

  • Are providing workers with safe access to work areas

    • Inspectors verify that employers are providing safe and appropriate access to work areas. They also check that workers/pedestrians are not endangered by mobile equipment or the movement of materials at the workplace.
  • Are ensuring workers perform tasks safely to prevent falls

    • Inspectors check that employers are ensuring workers perform tasks and interact with their workplace in a manner to prevent musculoskeletal injuries and the risk of slips, trips and/or falls.
  • Are ensuring mobile/transport equipment is appropriate for use and well-maintained

    • Inspectors check that employers verify that equipment is appropriate for use, well-maintained and safe practices are being followed.
  • Ensure workers are properly trained and supervised

    • Inspectors check that employers are providing information, instructions and training to workers to perform assigned tasks.
  • Ensure materials (i.e. products and supplies) are stored in a safe manner

    • Inspectors check that employers ensure materials are placed or stored in a manner that do not endanger workers, and that they could be removed or withdrawn without endangering the workers' safety. This includes a focus on bulk, rack and automated or unitizing/palleting equipment process/practices.
  • Have well-maintained lift-trucks and other lifting devices rated for their loads

    • Inspectors check that employers have lift-trucks and other lifting devices rated for their loads and that they are well-maintained.
  • Have workplace supervision

    • Inspectors check that employers are providing supervision to worker, as required by the OHSA.
  • Have a well-functioning internal responsibility system (IRS) in place

    •  Inspectors check and evaluate workplaces' IRS to confirm that required Health and Safety representatives or Joint Health and Safety Committees are in place, and are functioning as required by the OHSA. As well, they check for policies that outline the roles of workplace parties for ensuring the workplaces remain free of all hazards.

During last year's blitz, the ministry inspectors issued 3,263 orders, including 130 stop work orders. These orders were issued for different violations under the:

Many of the reasons for these orders were failure to:

  • ensure equipment, material and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.
  • ensure that a lifting device is thoroughly examined by a competent person to determine its capacity of handling the maximum load as rated.
  • ensure the materials are transported, placed, or stored so that the materials will not tip, collapse or fall, and can be removed or withdrawn without endangering the safety of any worker.
  • take reasonable precautions for the protection of workers.

 

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Equipment World can help your company be more proactive by providing training, rack safety audits, and storage solutions. 

Check out training calendar at www.equipworld.com/calendar to see upcoming training dates.

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Reference Articles: 
Blitz Results: Material Handling Blitz 2014
Material Handling Facty Sheet