Construction firm backs occupational cancer campaign

Ensuring workers wear correct protective masks on building sites is one of the ways a major construction firm is supporting a campaign to tackle work-related cancer.

9 February 2016

Willmott Dixon Group is among more than 60 organisations which have made a pledge to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) No Time to Lose campaign.

Pledgers agree to investigate whether any of their activities are increasing the risk of staff contracting cancer while at work and to put in place measures to reduce any risks.

Sean Brill, group health, safety and environment inspector at Willmott Dixon Group, said the firm was fully behind IOSH’s drive. They have been working with both Willmott Dixon Group staff and supply chain partners on the education of managers, supervisors and workers regarding the importance of wearing the correct levels of protective equipment and ensuring, where required, it is being worn and maintained correctly.

“We have been very encouraged by the response we have seen and feedback from workers has been very positive regarding both comfort and the reduction of inhaled dust,” said Sean.

“We have been pushing forward at Willmott Dixon Group with stopping both staff and supply chain partners from wearing disposable paper masks. What we are now looking at is both wearing face-fitted masks which are suitable for the job to be undertaken.”

Mr Brill, who is a chartered fellow of IOSH and a member of the organisation’s Council, said it is important that firms view the health of their workforce in the same way they do their safety.

He said: “As a group we felt it was time to stop whispering health and shouting safety. Both are very important as is the environment. It is vital we protect those who work for us from suffering long-term illness.

“Safety is immediate. The effects of something not being safe are seen and have immediate consequences. With health it is different; you often won’t see the effects of exposure to something unhealthy until many years down the line.”

The No Time to Lose campaign was launched a little over a year ago. It is alerting businesses and the people who work for them about the five most common causes of occupational cancer – exposure to diesel engine exhaust emissions, solar radiation, silica dust, asbestos and shift work – and how to take preventative action.

Organisations which have made a pledge are from different parts of the world and come from a variety of industries. Meanwhile over 120 organisations have endorsed the drive.

For further details about No Time to Lose and to download the free campaign materials, visit www.notimetolose.org.uk.

Image: Sean Brill, group health, safety and environment inspector at Willmott Dixon Group.