Inside Logistics

Safety blitz coming to Ontario warehouses

Regulatory issues, health and safety discussed at IWLA Canada conference


Racking will be examined during an upcoming Ontario Ministry of Labour safety blitz. (Photo: Thinkstock)

April 17, 2013
by MM&D staff

WOODBRIGE, Ontario—Ontario warehouse operators have been put on notice: ensure your facilities are fully compliant with health and safety regulations or risk government-imposed penalties.

That message was relayed by David Saucier, manager of regulatory and government affairs for the Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors (CACD) during a presentation given at the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) Canadian Council’s 5th Annual Spring Conference.

The all-day event, held in Woodbridge, Ontario, had a progression of speakers addressing topics as varied as changes to food and chemical handling regulations, social media marketing strategies, sustainability, and private equity and supply chain financing.

But the message delivered by Saucier was the among the simplest and easiest to act upon. And it was one with very concrete and measurable consequences.

“You may know this, but everybody in 3PL and warehousing, you’re going to be blitzed. They [the Ontario Ministry of Labour] do publish this. They’re coming after you. They’re looking for trips, spills, falls, that’s a big thing. Also skeletal diseases, that’s vibration [from equipment] and standing—if you’re not on proper mat and you’re at a workstation.

“They tell you they’re coming. So there really is no reason to have to have an order issued to you when they do show up. They’ve told you they’re coming. You have X number of months to get your act together, and really little or no excuse. They’re coming, they’re coming to you,” he said.

“For anybody in industrial warehousing, racking is a big thing, they’re going after racking this year. If it’s your customer, educate them. I know once you install a rack there’s not much you can do if they want to run over it with a forklift or bump into it and play ping-pong with their forklift, but you tell your customer they’re coming and they’re going to give you an order. Because every facility they’re coming into they’re averaging 2.4.”

The 2.4 figure Saucier cites is the average number of health and safety infractions government inspectors are issuing at every facility they visit.

“Those are the latest result from the province of Ontario. And they’re quite frightening unfortunately. They inspected 6,000 sites and issued 2.4 orders per site. That means every site they’re going into—it doesn’t matter what the industry is—they’re finding infractions,” said Saucier.

“They will list your name on their website. If you get dinged with $50,000 or more, which is their typical fine, you get Tweeted out and you’re on their website. So health and safety is very, very critical. If Ontario is going to be the leader of our economic engine, what they’re doing here now to address this will spread across Canada.”

The Ontario Ministry of Labour’s blitz inspection schedule is available here.  Convictions for violations of Ministry of Labour regulations are listed here.

the May-June issue of MM&D.For full coverage of the IWLA Canada conference, see