Ontario will launch a heightened enforcement focus related to hazards in shipping and receiving areas, including loading docks, as part of an ongoing campaign to increase safety in workplaces. Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit industrial and health-care workplaces in February 2011.
They will focus on hazards involving:
- Positioning and securing of vehicles, including checking that vehicles are immobilized and secured against accidental movement;
- Loading and unloading activities, including checking for hazards involving material handling equipment, fall hazards, and manual material handling that could lead to musculoskeletal disorders; and
- Entry and exit of transport vehicles, including checking for traffic hazards affecting pedestrians and the general work environment.
The blitz is a part of the government’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy, launched in June 2008. Safe workplaces lead to increased productivity for businesses and result in less strain on the health care system.
“Workers face a variety of high-risk hazards in shipping and receiving areas of workplaces." says Labour Minister Chales Sousa. "Our government is taking steps to prevent these types of injuries and deaths. Workers have the right to return home safe and sound to their families at the end of each day.”
Fifteen workers died in incidents involving shipping and receiving areas, including loading docks, between Jan. 1, 2000, and Oct. 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.
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.