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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Does your workplace have hidden lifting and handling hazards? Download this free checklist

Take action towards mitigating the risk of material handling injuries in your workplace with a new download. Business in Motion: Managing Material Handling Hazards uses a checklist format to help you easily pinpoint and manage material handling risks in your operations.

High number of injuries and fatalities

WSIB stats show that a high percentage of traumatic fatalities and injuries are linked to material handling activities. These include struck by and crushed by injuries and fatalities, lower back injuries, sprains and strains, contusions, and more.

Reducing these injuries is a priority for the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD), which has a proactive inspection campaign underway until March 31, 2024. “Workplaces need to make it their priority too,” says WSPS Consultant Kathy Wrzos.

“Tackling these injuries can be difficult for workplaces because material handling encompasses such a wide range of activities and potential hazards,” says Kathy. “It’s easy to miss things.” This new checklist offers workplaces an easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach to managing material handling hazards.

“The checklist lets you stop and reflect on how and where material handling is carried out in your workplace so you can identify and control associated hazards more effectively.” Kathy provides more details about the checklist below.

How the checklist works

“Material handling is an intrinsic part of most business operations – including industries such as manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, retail, and farming,” says Kathy. It covers all aspects of the movement of materials through the workplace, including, but not limited to, loading and unloading, moving items by hand, using a conveyor, pushing items with a cart, using a lift truck or walkie, and storing items on racking systems.

“Any time you move materials, there is a potential risk to the worker,” says Kathy. To identify those risks, you need to have a good understanding of each element of your material handling program.

In a series of steps, WSPS’s material handling tool helps you identify and document:

  • what tasks are involved in material handling in your workplace
  • where in the workplace the tasks are being carried out
  • why the task is hazardous
  • what controls you can put in place to reduce risks

“With this information, you can then create an action plan,” says Kathy.

Each step includes practical examples to eliminate guesswork and ease you through the process. For example, an effective control might be to reduce the weight and size of materials being moved to prevent awkward postures and promote safe lifting practices.

A fillable checklist gives additional detail about the tasks that may be involved in material handling and allows you to document your findings for each of the steps.

The action plan you create from the checklist should outline how and when controls will be implemented and monitored. “You need to make sure the change has actually taken hold.”

Download your free copy of the Business in Motion: Managing Material Handling Hazards.

How WSPS can help


WSPS consultants can walk you through the checklist for your workplace and make recommendations for controls, including:

  • Material Handling Process Review & Action
  • MSD Hazard Summary & Control program
  • Pedestrian Safety Traffic Management Inspections
  • Machine Safeguarding Assessment

Find out more or connect with a WSPS consultant.


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Categorized in: WSPS