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IOSH launches No Time To Lose to highlight occupational cancer risks

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The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has launched a campaign designed to cut exposure to work-related carcinogens, such as asbestos fibres and silica dust, and reduce the number of occupational cancers in the UK.

While specialist asbestos removal and management services are readily available to businesses and organisations, many still lack awareness of the issue and some workers are still being exposed to fibres in the workplace.

IOSH estimates that 4,000 people die from asbestos-related cancers each year and that a further 4,000 die from other occupational cancers, and has launched No Time To Lose in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers and promote greater collaboration on workplace health issues between the government and employers.

The campaign, which is backed by Macmillan Cancer Support and companies including Skanska, Laing O’Rourke and BAM Nuttall, calls for action in a range of areas, such as:

  • A government information campaign to highlight the cost to individuals, society and businesses of work-related cancer
  • The establishment of a comprehensive national database on occupational carcinogen exposure
  • A more effective regulatory compliance strategy for preventing exposures
  • Companies to ‘design in’ exposure prevention measures, through responsible procurement, manufacture and supply
  • A strong multidisciplinary drive to raise awareness and engage workers in solutions
  • Work cancer awareness to be included in relevant apprenticeships and trade-based training

Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs for IOSH, said: “We need a concerted joint effort to educate and protect future generations from work-related cancer. Simple actions today will save lives tomorrow - there really is no time to lose in tackling this global tragedy.”

He was backed by Dr Lesley Rushton of Imperial College London, who has carried out extensive research into the problem of work-related cancers in the UK.

She said: “There’s no excuse for young people entering into work today and being exposed to carcinogens. If we don’t do something now, we are going to have thousands of occupational cancers annually, but if we take action now we can beat occupational cancer.”

Click here to find out more about No Time To Lose.

For more information about identifying and minimising asbestos risks in your business, please contact BLS Asbestos.

Published: 24th November 2014