Hazards involving material handling can lead to serious worker injuries and even death. In particular, workers are at risk for back injury and muscular strains as well as injuries resulting from being struck by, caught between, or crushed by tools, materials, equipment or vehicles.
From September 15 to October 26, 2014, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted an enforcement blitz at workplaces in the industrial sector in Ontario.
Inspectors checked for hazards involving material handling. They checked that employers were complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.
The goal of the blitz was to:
Workers are at risk of injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) when handling, moving and storing materials in workplaces. In 2012, 39 per cent of all lost-time injuries involved MSDs.
Incidents often involve being struck by or hitting objects and equipment. Being struck by or hitting objects and equipment accounted for more than 26 per cent of compensation claims from workers whose injuries resulted in them missing time at work.
Together, these two types of injuries have consistently accounted for almost 70 per cent of all lost time at work.
From September 15 to October 26, 2014, ministry inspectors conducted 841 visits to 701 workplaces and issued 3,263 orders under the OHSA and its regulations. This included 130 stop work orders. Some of the workplaces were visited several times.
As of December 19, 2014, 75 per cent of the orders had been complied with.
The top three most frequently issued orders involved employers’ failure to:
Inspection blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces to be visited by inspectors are not identified in advance. Results are posted on the ministry's website.
The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and are intended to promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations.
Inspectors' findings may impact the frequency and level of future inspections of individual workplaces. Inspectors may also refer employers to health and safety associations for compliance assistance and training.
During the blitz, inspectors visited a range of workplaces in the industrial sector. They mainly focused on the following sectors:
In particular, the blitz targeted workplaces:
The inspectors focused on the following requirements:
From September 15 to October 26, 2014, ministry inspectors conducted 841 visits to 701 workplaces and issued 3,263 orders under the OHSA and its regulations. This included 130 stop work orders.
On average, 4.65 orders were issued per workplace visit.
The orders were issued for various violations under the:
Inspectors visited workplaces in various sectors.
|Sector||Orders Issued||Stop Work Orders Issued||Requirements Issued||Workplaces Visited|
|Wood and Metal Fabrication||687||27||19||119|
|Wholesalers (includes Building Supply Centres)||461||24||9||94|
|Chemical, Rubber and Plastics||220||9||6||49|
|Vehicle Sales and Service||146||1||2||26|
|Food, Beverage and Tobacco||141||6||2||36|
|Ceramics, Glass and Stone||88||4||0||18|
|Textiles and Printing||54||2||0||14|
|Pulp and Paper||48||2||4||9|
|Reason for Order||Number of Orders||Percentage total Orders Issued|
|Failure to ensure equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition [OHSA S. 25(1)(b)]||266||8.15%|
|Failure to ensure that a lifting device is thoroughly examined by a competent person to determine its capacity of handling the maximum load as rated [Industrial Reg. S. 51(1)(b)]||189||5.79%|
|Failure to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [OHSA S. 25(2)(h)]||169||5.18%|
|Failure to post copy of the OHSA [OHSA S. 25(2)(i)]||124||3.8%|
|Failure to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of a worker [OHSA S. 25(2)(a)]||105||3.22%|
|Failure to ensure a floor used by a worker is kept free of obstructions, hazards and accumulation of refuse, ice or snow [Industrial Reg. S. 11]||93||2.85%|
|Failure to ensure material that may tip and fall and endanger any worker is secured against tipping or falling [Industrial Reg. S. 46]||93||2.85%|
|Failure to prepare and review at least annually a written occupational health and safety policy and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy [OHSA S. 25(2)(j)]||85||2.60%|
|Failure to ensure that 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 [Industrial Reg. S. 45(b)]||83||2.54%|
|Failure to prevent access to moving parts of equipment that may endanger a worker [Industrial Reg. S. 24]||82||2.51%|
As part of checking for worker training and appropriate supervision in workplaces orders were issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation for violations involving:
The 130 stop work orders represented (3.9) per cent of all the orders issued.
No orders were issued for failure to comply with minimum age requirements under the industrial regulations.
The number of orders issued per workplace was slightly higher than previous blitzes in the industrial sector. This indicates workers continue to be exposed to material handling hazards.
Continued enforcement is needed to improve the health and safety of workers involved in material handling tasks at workplaces.
The ministry will also continue to target resources on material handling safety during routine workplace inspections of Ontario's industrial workplaces. During visits, inspectors should continue to check that employers are ensuring workers are:
The ministry will continue to raise awareness of material handling hazards in Ontario workplaces.
A key to workplace health and safety in Ontario is the internal responsibility system.
One of the primary purposes of the OHSA is to facilitate a strong IRS in the workplace. To this end, the OHSA lays out the duties of employers, supervisors, workers, constructors and workplace owners. Workplace parties' compliance with their respective statutory duties is essential to the establishment of a strong IRS in the workplace.
Workplace parties are encouraged to work together to identify and control hazards involving material handling.
Please contact our safety partners for more information on identifying, preventing and controlling these hazards.
View health and safety awareness products and training for workplace parties.