On September 14, the Ministry of Labour will begin a 6-week material handling inspection blitz. Get ahead of the ministry by conducting your own blitz now, advises WSPS consultant Sandy Ash. "Turn this into an opportunity by proactively identifying gaps in your prevention program and implementing an action plan. It's all very positive if it's an impetus for improvement."
Make the inspectors' priorities your priorities
Use the following inspection priorities, identified by the Ministry of Labour, as direction for your own blitz. Additional input from Sandy Ash appears in italics.
Lifting devices - do cranes and lift trucks have an adequate load rating for their tasks? Are they maintained in good condition?
Manual handling procedures - are workers performing tasks in a manner that prevents MSD injuries and slips, trips and/or falls?
Mobile/transport equipment - is it the right equipment for the task? Maintained in good condition? Are people following safe load securement procedures? Are there workplace traffic management plans? Do you have a pedestrian safety procedure for who walks where and who has right of way? Do you have signage in place? Are third party vehicles properly restrained?
Storage systems - are materials placed and stored in a safe manner? Can they be removed safely? This will include a focus on bulk, rack, and, automated or unitizing/palletizing equipment processes/practices.
Internal Responsibility System (IRS) - is the health and safety representative or joint health and safety committee (JHSC) in place and functioning as required? Actively involving your representative or JHSC in your own inspection blitz can galvanize them to explore hazards and solutions more deeply than they do during monthly inspections.
Worker training - are employers providing information and instruction to workers to perform assigned tasks safely? Check your training records to make sure everyone has been trained on all related best practices, and make sure the training records are up to date. Include training on your racking structures, such as their maximum capacities, how to load and unload them, identify damage, etc. Also, worker health and safety awareness training.
Workplace supervision - are employers providing supervision to ensure compliance with the act? Have they received supervisor health and safety awareness training? Can your supervisors speak to the organization’s programs that are intended to manage specific workplace hazards and risks?
Following your inspection, create an action plan, monitor progress, and keep internal stakeholders up to date. If you can't accomplish everything in your action plan before the blitz begins, then at least document the process and get sign-off and budget approval from someone with authority to show that management knows about this.
These WSPS resources can help
Register today for a complimentary live MOL Material Handling Blitz - Be Ready webinar on the material handling blitz: September 10 at 10:00 am.
WSPS also offers consulting services and training (classroom, on site and online) for all aspects of material handling in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors, including warehouse hazards, inspecting and maintaining steel storage racks, lifting device safety, crane and hoist safety, and more. Check them all out on our material handling resource page.