Campaign to prevent work-related cancer launched in Canada

Canadian occupational safety and health professionals heard about a global campaign to help tackle cancer caused by work at the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers (CSSE) 2019 Professional Development Conference in Winnipeg on 22-25 September.

‘No Time to Lose’ a campaign run by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and supported by CSSE aims to raise awareness of occupational cancer globally and help businesses take action by providing free practical resources.

Worldwide, work-related cancer claims the lives of at least 742,000 people a year – an average of one death every 42 seconds – almost twice as many as those who die due to accidents at work.

These cancers are caused by exposure to fatal carcinogens such asbestos, silica dust, solar radiation and diesel engine exhaust emissions.

Research by CAREX Canada shows that in Canada around 152,000 people are still exposed to asbestos at work, mainly in the construction sector, and over 800,000 workers in transportation-related occupations are at risk of breathing in diesel fumes.

At the conference, IOSH Vice-President Louise Hosking presented the campaign and encouraged delegates to download the free resources to help raise awareness of the causes of occupational cancer in their workplaces.

She also urged them to support the campaign and pledge to act. No Time to Lose is currently supported by 360 organisations worldwide, including the CSSE, and around 130 leading businesses have signed up to its pledge to manage harmful exposures at work.

Louise (pictured above) said:

“The occupational safety and health professionals I met from across Canada at the CSSE Conference shared our concern that the number of exposures to workplace carcinogens needs to be reduced globally.  

“Even small changes to policy and procedures can make a difference. The IOSH No Time to Lose campaign, backed up with research, online case studies and practical materials prompted a wide range of discussions.

“I urged those at the CSSE Conference to access the website and consider making a pledge. With someone dying somewhere in the world every 42 seconds from occupational cancer there really is ‘No Time to Lose’.”

CSSE Executive Director Perry Ruehlen said:

“The Canadian Society of Safety Engineering supports the shared purpose of the No Time to Lose campaign, joining in partnership with other organisations and businesses worldwide to tackle cancers caused by work.

“As Canada’s voice of the safety, health and environmental profession, our more than 4,000 members across 10 national committees and 40 chapters work in many different industries but share one common goal: Ensuring our colleagues make it home safe at the end of the work day.

“Our members know how vital it is to prevent exposure to carcinogens. The practical, far-reaching No Time to Lose campaign is one good way we can all collaborate to fight occupational cancer.

“We look forward to sharing its resources and helping safety and health practitioners make a positive difference in their workplaces.”

Find out more, get involved and download free No Time to Lose resources.

Photos from the CSSE 2019 Professional Development Conference below.