New campaign targets workplace cancer - Palmers Solicitors

New campaign targets workplace cancer

Industry leaders, politicians and occupational safety and health specialists have teamed up to launch a new campaign to beat occupational cancer.

Around 100 people attended the House of Commons event on 3 November to launch ‘No Time to Lose’, which is designed to cut the number of work-related cancer deaths and raise awareness about the risks.

Jan Chmiel, chair of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), which is leading the campaign, told guests: “With a staggering two-thirds of a million annual global deaths to work-related cancer, the time has now come and the world must act.

“We can and must do more to tackle occupational disease and to manage health in the same way we manage safety – as part of an overall culture of care.”

Dr Lesley Rushton, lead researcher on the most comprehensive study into the occupational cancer burden on the UK, highlighted the positive impact greater compliance with limits on carcinogens would have on the health of the nation.

She said that increasing compliance with limits on silica, in industries like construction, from 33 per cent to 90 per cent would cut cancer deaths in the UK by an estimated 700 a year.

Health and Safety Minister Mark Harper said: “As the IOSH No Time to Lose campaign rightly highlights, occupational cancer is a very serious issue, claiming the lives of an estimated 8,000 people each year in Britain.

“The government approach to occupational cancer is to ensure compliance with current health and safety law by working with partners to prevent worker exposure to harmful materials. But more joint action is needed and everyone should play their role in raising awareness of occupational disease and ill health.”

Lara Murray, associate solicitor in Palmers’ Employment Law team, said: “Whatever the size of a business, the employer is legally required to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees, customers, suppliers, other visitors and members of the public, by assessing risks injury and health risks that could occur in the workplace and acting to manage and control these.

“In the case of carcinogenic substances, or any other potential hazard, risk assessments will tell employers how, and to what extent, workers are exposed, to help employers establish what, if anything, they need to do to reduce exposure. Palmers can assist with risk assessments and analyse the findings to provide recommendations for risk management. For more information, please contact us.”