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MLITSD Material Handling Inspections - Frequently Asked Questions

Blurry motion shot of warehouse and worker using hand pallet truck unloading pallet goods at a warehouse.

The MLITSD is conducting a focused inspection campaign on material handling at industrial workplaces from April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025. Find answers to your questions and learn how to prepare for an inspection using this FAQ.

Campaign Overview and Focus

What is the focus of the campaign?

The MLITSD is conducting a year-long enforcement campaign to raise awareness of material handling hazards faced by workers in industrial workplaces.

This campaign runs from April 1, 2024 – March 31, 2025. During this time, inspectors will visit various workplaces where materials, articles, or things are lifted, carried, or moved, therefore putting workers at risk of being injured by their movement.

Throughout the campaign, the MLITSD, with the support of Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), will provide education, outreach, and awareness to assist businesses with their compliance efforts.

Why is this campaign important?

  • MLITSD data from 2023 shows 30 fatalities in the Industrial Program.
  • In 2023 and over the last five years, hazards related to material handling continue to be the top causes of fatalities. Last year, there were seven fatalities attributed to being crushed by materials or equipment; six were struck by materials or equipment, and three fell from heights.
  • Sadly, seven of the fatalities last year were suffered by young workers aged 14-25. 

This campaign aims to increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations.   

What are the goals of this campaign? 

  • Prevent injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices.
  • Raise awareness of critical health and safety material handling hazards.
  • Ensure workplace parties are complying with the law.
  • Refer employers to WSPS for assistance in complying with legislation.

What are the priorities of the campaign?

How workers are handling material and the equipment they use for the task will be a key focus for inspectors, including the following topics and hazards:

  • Lifting devices/mobile equipment/cranes
  • Workplace layout and design
  • Manual material handling
  • Storage systems
  • Automation
  • Machine guarding, blocking, and lockout.
  • Training and orientation provided by the employer (e.g. supervisor and worker awareness training)
  • Administration/Internal Responsibility System (e.g. joint health and safety committee/health and safety representation)

What sectors are included?

This year-long enforcement campaign asks inspectors to visit various sectors where fatalities and critical injuries occur. The focus will be on workplaces where materials, articles, or things are lifted, carried, or moved, and puts workers at risk of being injured by their movement. Key sectors will include:

  • Automotive
  • Farming and Agricultural Services
  • Food, Beverage, and Tobacco
  • Government Services (municipal services only)
  • Industrial Services
  • Primary Metals
  • Retail
  • Tourism, Hospitality and Recreational Services
  • Transportation
  • Vehicle, Sales, and Service
  • Wholesalers
  • Wood And Metal Fabrication

I am a small business. Am I included in this campaign?

Yes. According to June 2023 Statistics Canada data, there were over 220,000 small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) in Ontario in the key sectors identified for this campaign. Small business owners may lack knowledge and understanding of the OHSA and hazard identification. They may also have limited financial and human resources to develop and implement a health and safety program to keep workers safe.

I am an agriculture operation. Are we included?

Yes. In the farming and agriculture sectors, there is often complex material handling because of the non-standardized loads that are being manipulated, which may pose significant hazards. 

Will all businesses be inspected?

No, not all businesses will be inspected.   

How will the MLITSD select which businesses to inspect?

This campaign is task-based, meaning any workplace where work activities involve material handling may be visited. Inspectors will pay particular attention to workplaces with new, young or vulnerable workers.

Will a business be notified in advance of an MLITSD inspector visit?

No. A MLITSD inspector's visit will be unannounced. 

What can I expect?

  • An inspector has the right to enter and be granted access to all areas of the workplace.
  • When an inspector arrives at your workplace, they will introduce themselves, explain the reason for the visit, and ask a worker and management representative to accompany them during the inspection.
  • The Inspector may conduct an administrative review and a physical workplace inspection.
  • Inspectors will enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts at the time of the inspection. 

During an inspection, if an inspector finds a contravention under the OHSA:

  • An order may be issued.
  • The Inspector will explain the contravention and may refer the workplace to a health and safety association (e.g. WSPS) for compliance assistance.  
  • Inspectors issue stop-work orders where an immediate threat to worker health and safety has been observed, halting work completely until the issue is resolved.
  • A field visit report outlining the details of the visit, including orders issued, will be provided to the employer.

Working with WSPS

Am I required to work with WSPS? 

WSPS' health and safety consultants are located across Ontario and are available to support businesses of all sizes to understand their obligations under the OHSA, as well as connect them with resources to get started. Employers are not required to engage with WSPS and can rely on support from other available resources.

Is there a cost for WSPS consulting services? 

Advice and guidance are always free from WSPS as part of the employer's paid Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums. If you transition from free to fee-for-service support, your WSPS consultant will bring that to your attention before any work begins. You will never receive a surprise bill from WSPS.

What type of support can I expect from WSPS?

WSPS has created several free resources to assist with the campaign. These resources will help you recognize and identify areas in which you are doing a great job of preventing injuries and areas where you may need more help.

Every business has unique challenges and constraints based on size and available resources. WSPS is committed to supporting all businesses, ensuring responsibilities under the OHSA are understood and implemented using a strategic and integrated approach. We leverage our experience and existing relationships with our system partners and engage research institutions to get you the information your business needs to implement sustainable solutions that will impact employee well-being and overall business performance.

Many consultants sit on CSA and ISO standard committees to ensure Ontario workplaces get the latest information to prevent injuries.

For more information and updates, visit WSPS.CA, contact your local account manager, or contact WSPS (1-877-494-9777).


WSPS Resources

MLITSD Resources

Contact Information

If you have additional questions about this campaign, please get in touch with WSPS online or call our Customer Care team at 1-877-494-9777.