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Forklifts and Lifting Devices Blitz

Ontario's industrial sector presents some grim statistics pertaining to lift truck incidents - 13 fatalities from 2003-2007. There were 5 more fatalities during the first eight months of 2009.

Forklift blitz last year

Last February, the Ministry of Labour conducted a forklift related blitz. It resulted in:

- 3,155 compliance issues being issued

- 182 stop work orders - the highest for all blitzes in 2009

- 27 citations - the highest for all blitzes in 2009

This year's (2010) forklift blitz

The Ministry will once again dedicate February to inspecting workplaces for hazards related to forklift and other lifting device operations. One significant difference in this year's blitz is that inspectors will conduct after hours (evening) and weekend field visits too.

The industry sectors to be targeted are - services (retail  & wholesale opertions, food and beverage, automotive, and office & related services), manufacturing, transportation and farming opertions (greenhouse and mushroom farming operations included).

Inspectors will focus on:

  • Adequacy of training and education of workers and supervisors involved in forklift operations
  • Providing a safe work environment - pedestrian traffic, walkways, appropriate access and egress to and from work areas, barriers and warning signs, and provision of signallers where required
  • Suitability of equipment and attachments being used
  • Ensuring all equipment is maintained in good condition
  • Policies and programs are in place for forklift operations. Emergency procedures may also be reviewed
  • Ensuring that Joint Health & Safety Committees or Health & Safety Representatives are in place and they function as required

Ministry of Labour

MOL Press Release - Find out about the MOL's current focus on forklift operations in the workplace and what specific hazards they will be focusing on.

MOL Forklifts Blitz Backgrounder - Learn who, how and why the MOL is targeting on the blitz and how you can prepare your company if an inspector comes knocking.

Watch a four-minute video on what MOL inspectors will be looking for at your workplace with regard to fork lift safety.

How can workplaces prepare for a visit by the Ministry of Labour?

The Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA) and its partners, The Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) and the Farm Safety Association (FSA) have resources in place to help you. Start by going through a two-step process.

Step 1: Conduct an assessment of your forklift operations

Use any of these self assessment tools to help you find if any gaps exist in your operations:

Step 2: Once you have identified the gaps click on the appropriate resources below to know more about closing those gaps

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Lift Truck Operator's Safety Training: This one day course helps you recognize causes of lift truck incidents and how to take preventive measures.

Crane, Hoist and Rigging Safety: A half-day on-site training on basic hazards and controls, sling loads safety, setup check, safe raising, moving and lowering of loads.

Inspecting and Maintaining Steel Storage Racks: This one day training on establishing a lift truck safety program looks not only at lift trucks and their operators but also the storage racks around which lift trucks primarily operate.



Inspecting Physical Conditions, Guidelines for Setting Standards : Provides guidelines for workplace conditions, equipment hazard controls and more.

Safe-LIFT on DVD : The DVD incorporates all the Safe-LIFT videos onto one convenient disc. Additional print packages are available separately for:

   -  Counterbalance (English and French)

   -  Narrow Aisle

   -  Pallet Truck-Low Lift



OSSA consultants work with clients to identify and assess health and safety needs and facilitate practical solutions. Please contact your local consultant for more information.



Here is a comprehensive selection of tip sheets, publications, resource articles, and free downloads pertaining to lifting devices and forklifts from IAPA and OSSA:



Here are web links to forklift safety resources from the Ministry of Labour and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS):

For further assistance on forklift safety please call OSSA at 1-888-478-6772 or visit

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