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Are You Prepared for Ontario’s Materials Handling Inspection Blitz?

Inspectors from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) conduct regular inspection blitzes focused on particular hazards, workers or workplaces.

The latest blitz, which started on Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 26, 2014, will focus on hazards involving materials handling—that is, activities related to the loading, unloading, storage and movement of goods and supplies in workplaces.

MOL inspectors will visit plants, factories and other industrial sector workplaces across the province, checking that employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address possible materials handling hazards. Here are the areas the inspectors will be paying particular attention to as well as OHS Insider resources that can help you ensure that your workplace could pass such an inspection:

Lifting devices. Inspectors will check that you have well-maintained lift-trucks and other lifting devices rated for their loads. (Learn about the seven key elements of the lifting device requirements. And to ensure workers are safe when manually handling materials, take these five steps.)

Safe access. Are you providing workers with safe access to work areas? For example, don’t make workers walk the plank to get to a work area.

Fall protection. Inspectors will check that you’re ensuring workers perform tasks safely to prevent falls, such as with a fall protection plan.

Mobile equipment. Ensure that your mobile/transport equipment is appropriate for use and well-maintained.

Materials storage. Inspectors will make sure that materials are stored in a safe manner.

IRS. Do you have a well-functioning internal responsibility system in place?

Training and supervision. Inspectors will verify that your workers are properly trained and supervised when handling materials. For example, do they know how to safely operate forklifts?  (See, Spot the Safety Violation: Fork Lift Safety.) You can give workers this quiz to test how much they know about forklift safety.