IOSH urges employers to take action over mesothelioma deaths

New figures have brought to light the number of people dying from an asbestos-related cancer in Britain.

8 July 2015

Latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics have revealed that 2,538 people died in Britain in 2013 due to mesothelioma. This was down marginally from 2,548 in 2012.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is raising awareness of mesothelioma and other occupational cancers through its No Time to Lose campaign.

Shelley Frost, Executive Director – Policy at IOSH, said: “The fact that over 2,500 people died from mesothelioma following past exposure to asbestos reiterates the importance that employers, regulators, safety practitioners and workers take action to avoid people being exposed to carcinogens at work.

“It is likely that many of these deaths were as a result of being exposed to asbestos in the workplace years – if not decades – earlier. Eradicating the risk now will prevent the future generation suffering a similar fate.”

Five of the most common causes of work-related cancer registrations and deaths are being highlighted through No Time to Lose, including asbestos exposure.

In light of the HSE figures, IOSH has reaffirmed its commitment towards shaping a safe, healthy and sustainable world of work.

The provisional HSE data also showed that 142 workers were fatally injured between April 2014 and March 2015, compared with 136 people in 2013-14.

The figure, however, is lower than the average over the past five years. The long-term trend also shows that the rate of work-related deaths in Britain has more than halved over the last 20 years.

The IOSH Rural Industries Group is also highlighting the No Time to Lose campaign this week as part of its support for the third annual Farm Safety Week across the UK and Ireland.

The Group is publicising and sharing examples of best practice and guidance via their IOSH microsite.

Alan Plom, vice-chair of the IOSH Rural Industries Group, said: “Farming remains the most dangerous industry in Britain with the highest rate of fatal injuries.

“As farming is a 24/7 industry we will be extending our support of Farm Safety Week into the weekend. We will be updating on the No Time to Lose campaign in relation to farming and other rural industries, and publishing other useful information to help reduce the toll of injuries and ill health.” 

Contact Tim Walsh, IOSH Media Manager
+44 (0)116 257 3252
+44 (0)797 660 4715