Occupational cancer is any cancer caused wholly or partly by exposure to carcinogens at work. More than 50 substances are currently linked to workplace cancer and almost 14,000 new cases of cancer are caused by work conditions each year, according to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). The effects of occupational cancer extend beyond just the individual sufferer—it raises health care costs, damages organisations’ reputations and can lead to company fines for failure to provide a safe work environment.
To reduce incidents of occupational cancer, IOSH launched its No Time to Lose campaign, which has already gained the support of more than 70 organisations and companies. The campaign aims to raise awareness of occupational cancer and what can be done to help. No Time to Lose focuses on nine reforms:
1. Highlights the cost of work-related cancer to individuals, businesses and to society
2. Maintains a comprehensive national database on occupational carcinogen exposure
3. Funds more research into occupational cancers, including on managing risks from new developments
4. Delivers a more effective compliance strategy for preventing exposures
5. Takes a more proactive approach—for example, promoting the fact that nightshift workers are entitled to free health assessments
6. Achieves a strong multidisciplinary drive to raise awareness and engage workers in solutions
7. ‘Joins the dots’ between employers, health and safety professionals, GPs and consultants
8. Designs exposure prevention measures through responsible procurement, manufacture and supply
9. Embeds work cancer awareness in relevant apprenticeships and trade-based training
To achieve these goals, the campaign offers businesses a free, anonymous ‘Ask the Experts’ panel service and free resources for tackling specific occupational cancer risks.
Your company can help mitigate carcinogenic hazards in the workplace by committing to an IOSH action plan. This pledge outlines how your company will institute measures to identify potential occupational cancer causes, develop preventative strategies and ensure that all employees are aware of how to best manage occupational cancer risks.
For more information on the No Time to Lose Campaign and how your company can get involved, visit www.notimetolose.org.uk.
And remember, Bollington's Risk Management team can offer your business training through accredited IOSH training courses, including IOSH Managing Safely and IOSH Working Safely. Speak to us on 01625 854300 for further information.