Workers can be seriously injured or even die as a result of hazards involving material handling.
From September 14 to October 23, 2015, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted an enforcement blitz at industrial workplaces in Ontario. It was the second year in a row the ministry targeted these hazards in a blitz.
Material handling involves activities related to the loading, unloading, storage and movement of goods and supplies in workplaces.
Inspectors checked for material handling hazards that could result in worker injuries and deaths. They checked that employers were complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.
The goals of the blitz were to:
This blitz was part of the government’s continued commitment to preventing workplace injuries and illness through its Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative.
In 2013, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) comprised 37 per cent of all injuries involving lost time at work, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
Workers being struck by objects and equipment, as well as other contact, accounted, on average, for more than 27 per cent of claims received by the WSIB in 2014 for lost-time injuries.
Together, these two types of injuries have consistently accounted for between 65 and 70 per cent of all lost time at work, according to the WSIB.
From September 14 to October 23, 2015, ministry inspectors conducted 1,224 visits to 1,014 workplaces and issued 4,393 orders  under the OHSA and its regulations. This included 107 stop work orders. Some of the workplaces were visited several times.
The top three most frequently issued orders involved employers’ failure to ensure:
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, including retail outlets, plants, factories and workshops. They mainly visited workplaces in the following sectors:
In particular, the blitz targeted workplaces:
The inspectors focused on:
Inspectors took enforcement action, as appropriate, in response to any violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.
From September 14 to October 23, 2015, ministry inspectors conducted 1,224 visits to 1,014 workplaces and issued 4,393 orders under the OHSA and its regulations.
On average, 4.33 orders were issued per workplace visited. Some of the workplaces were visited several times with an average of 3.59 orders issued per field visit.
The orders were issued for various violations under the:
Inspectors visited workplaces in various sectors.
|Sector||Orders Issued||Stop Work Orders Issued||Requirements||Workplaces visited|
|Wood & Metal Fabrication||472||13||14||93|
|Vehicle Sales & Service||344||3||4||62|
|Food, Beverage & Tobacco||174||4||3||40|
|Chemical, Rubber & Plastics||107||2||1||25|
|Ceramics, Glass & Stone||112||2||2||17|
|Reason for Order||Number of Orders||Percentage Total Orders Issued|
|Failure to ensure lifting devices are examined by a competent person and safely operated within their load capacity [Industrial Reg. s. 51]||306||7.0%|
|Failure to ensure equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition [OHSA s. 25(1)(b)]||287||6.5%|
|Failure to ensure materials are moved so they do not endanger a worker’s safety and are transported, placed, or stored so the materials will not tip, collapse or fall [Industrial Reg. s. 45]||216||4.9%|
|Failure to post a copy of the OHSA [OHSA s. 25(2)(i)]||214||4.9%|
|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]||200||4.6%|
|Failure to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [OHSA s. 25(2)(h)]||160||3.6%|
|Failure to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of a worker [OHSA s. 25(2)(a)]||146||3.3%|
|Failure to ensure machinery, equipment or material that may tip or fall and endanger any worker is secured against tipping or falling [Industrial Reg. s. 46]||138||3.1%|
|Failure to prevent access to a machine’s pinch point by using a guard or other device [Industrial Reg. s. 25]||115||2.6%|
|Failure to prevent access to moving parts of equipment that may endanger a worker [Industrial Reg. s. 24]||93||2.1%|
Of the total orders issued:
The large number of orders issued (4,393) during the 2015 blitz indicates workers continue to be exposed to material handling hazards.
In 2014, during the material handlinig blitz ministry inspectors visited 701 workplaces and issued 3,263 orders under the OHSA and its regulations for similar violations.
The ministry will continue to focus on material handling safety during routine workplace inspections of Ontario's industrial workplaces. During visits, inspectors will continue to check that employers are ensuring:
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 (IRS).
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. The workplace parties' compliance with their respective statutory duties is essential to the establishment of a strong IRS and control of hazards in the workplace.
Employers, superviors, workers, Joint Health and Safety Committees and health and safety representatives must continue to work together to identify and control material handling hazards.
For compliance assistance, view the Ministry of Labour health and safety awareness products and training for workplace parties, including:
Please contact Ministry of Labour health and safety partners for more information on identifying, preventing and controlling these hazards.
 Orders issued includes all orders and requirements.