IOSH to launch work cancer event series with BOHS and HSE

A new joint initiative promoting awareness of occupational cancer caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is to be shared with IOSH members for the first time next month.

16 May 2016

The institution has teamed up with the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to develop a presentation entitled ‘Working together to beat occupational cancer – spotlight on silica’ which the membership network can access.

It follows the launch by IOSH of new information and materials around RCS earlier this year as part of its No Time to Lose campaign, to help businesses develop prevention strategies to control exposure.

The new joint presentations will be delivered to members for the first time at the IOSH Midland Branch meeting on 2 June, at the Hollyfields Centre Club Limited, in Erdington, Birmingham.

Branch chair Mohammed Basharat said: “The issue of work-related health is something that we have been championing in the branch for a number of years and we’ve been on board with the No Time to Lose campaign since day one.

“We were extremely keen to secure this new presentation for our members. As the oldest of IOSH’s branches, and with us approaching our 65th anniversary next year, it is great that we will be the first in the network to jointly host the institution, the BOHS and the HSE in highlighting this important occupational health issue.”

Research suggests that each year in Britain, around 800 people die from lung cancer caused by prolonged exposure to RCS at work, with 900 new cases being diagnosed annually. Worldwide, it’s estimated that millions of employees are exposed to silica dust in the workplace.

Shelley Frost, executive director of policy at IOSH, said: “Silica dust exposure is a cross-industry issue. Tackling it, therefore, requires a cross-industry approach.

“We’re delighted to be working with the BOHS and HSE on this initiative. Joined-up thinking has the potential to make a real difference in tackling this major occupational health issue. The talks aim to help inform, educate and support in prevention and management practices.

“Whether you are an employer or employee, industry body or policy-maker, safety and health professional or occupational hygienist – we all have a part to play if we are to eliminate work-related cancer.”

At the event delegates will hear about the associated health risks from exposure to RCS, the role of occupational hygiene in protecting workers, and get practical advice and guidance about controlling exposure.

Steve Perkins, CEO of BOHS, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with colleagues in IOSH and HSE in raising awareness of the dangers of silica, a major cause of work-related cancer.

“As the chartered society for worker health protection representing the occupational hygiene profession, our expertise lies in workplace health risk management and our input into these talks will be to explain the crucial role of occupational hygiene in managing silica and other workplace health risks, and where this fits within the broader realm of occupational health and wellbeing.

“We will also share information about our own Breathe Freely campaign which offers a wealth of free resources to help managers to understand how to recognise, evaluate and control workplace health risks such as silica.”

Kären Clayton, deputy director of HSE’s chemicals regulation directorate, said: “Exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust causes a large number of cases of death and ill-health each year across Great Britain.

“We look forward to working with IOSH and BOHS to raise awareness of this important issue and are pleased to be involved in this type of activity that supports the new ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’ health and safety strategy.”

Full details about the upcoming joint presentations can be found at www.notimetolose.org.uk/NTTLevents. Branches and groups interested in adding the silica presentations to their events programme should email campaigns@iosh.co.uk.

How have you been promoting the No Time to Lose campaign to your bosses, workers and clients? Let the IOSH Media team know by emailing media@iosh.co.uk, or calling +44 (0)116 257 3100.