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Enforcement Blitz Targets Loading Dock Areas

  • Issued: February 1, 2011
  • Content last reviewed: February 2011

See also: Bulletin

The Ministry of Labour will focus on hazards in shipping and receiving areas, including loading docks, during an enforcement blitz at industrial and healthcare workplaces in February, 2011.

The blitz is part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy, launched in June 2008.

Workers are known to face a variety of high-risk hazards in indoor and outdoor shipping and receiving areas of workplaces.

Fifteen workers died in incidents involving shipping and receiving areas, including loading docks, between January 1, 2000 and October 31, 2010, according to Ministry of Labour statistics.

These fatalities included workers being:

  • Pinned between forklifts
  • Pinned between a loading dock and truck or trailer
  • Pinned between a truck and trailer
  • Struck by or run over by a truck
  • Struck by falling items that were not secured, and
  • Struck by a falling dock plate

Inspectors will enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and applicable regulations made under the OHSA using the full range of enforcement options available to them if they observe any contraventions.


With the support of Ministry engineers, hygienists and ergonomists, inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:

  • Immobilization and Securing of Vehicles: Inspectors will check whether trucks and trailers are immobilized and secured to prevent accidental movement in any direction to protect workers engaged in loading and unloading activities and workers in the vicinity. Inspectors will check whether workers using dock locking systems or other securing devices to prevent accidental movement of vehicles have received information, instruction and supervision. In addition, inspectors will check whether equipment is used and maintained according to the manufacturers’ instructions, including the use of guards where appropriate and lockout procedures.
  • Loading and Unloading Activities: Inspectors will check for the safe use and maintenance of material handling equipment and whether workers have been trained to use the equipment. Inspectors will also check if there are any slip, trip and fall hazards. They will also check if workers are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment where it is needed. They will also check to see if workers have received information and instruction on safe manual material handling procedures.
  • Entry / Exit of Vehicles Carrying Materials: Inspectors will check for traffic hazards associated with vehicles or material handling equipment which pedestrians could be exposed to. Inspectors will also check for hazards associated with the general work environment in both the indoor and outdoor shipping and receiving areas.

Safe At Work Ontario

Sector-and hazard-specific inspection blitzes are an important feature of Ontario’s Safe At Work strategy. No injuries are acceptable in Ontario workplaces.

Safe at Work Ontario is the Ministry of Labour’s workplace health and safety strategy focusing on:

  • Enforcement
  • Compliance and
  • Partnership

Since being launched in June 2008, the province’s team of inspectors has made more than 140,000 workplace visits, issued more than 200,000 compliance orders (including more than 10,000 orders to stop dangerous work) and conducted 26 proactive inspection blitzes across all sectors.