Campaign to cut workplace cancer highlighted at Caribbean safety and health meeting

Safety and health professionals in the Caribbean are backing a campaign to cut the rates of work-related cancer.

7 December 2015

The Caribbean Branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) heard about the No Time to Lose campaign, which is urging businesses to do their part to prevent staff from contracting cancer.

During the meeting it was said that in Latin America and the Caribbean more than 31,000 people die each year from cancer caused by work.

Meanwhile up to four per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the region – and eight per cent of lung cancers – are caused by work. Work-related malignant mesothelioma claims the lives of around 2,000 people each year.

Among the causes are exposure to asbestos and silica dust as well as working in the sun.

Navin Ragoo and Shazam Edoo, Vice-Chair and Treasurer of the IOSH Caribbean Branch respectively, gave the presentation on the drive.

After the meeting, Navin said: “There is rightly a lot of focus on preventing workplace accidents such as falls from height. However it is equally important that businesses ensure that the health of their staff is protected.

“One of the major causes of work-related deaths in this region and other parts of the world is cancer. Often those who are exposed to carcinogens do not show any symptoms until many years after.

“The No Time to Lose campaign is looking to reduce the amount of people who suffer from this awful disease as a result of going about their daily business.”

Over 60 firms across the world have made a pledge to the campaign, which was launched by IOSH a year ago. By doing so they agree to assess whether work activities that staff perform have the potential to cause cancer and, if so, to develop a prevention strategy. Meanwhile more than 110 firms have endorsed the drive.

Across the world, 666,000 people die from work-related cancer each year – one death every 47 seconds.

The meeting was held at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on Friday 4 December.

Among other topics being discussed were the proposed worldwide safety and health standard ISO 45001, which will replace BS OHSAS 18001 and aims to prevent injury and ill health and cut the estimated worldwide annual toll of more than 2.3 million work-related fatalities. 

Contact Tim Walsh, IOSH Media Manager

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+44 (0)116 257 3252
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