Cancer caused by diesel fumes highlighted at MoD conference

Military Environmental Health professionals have heard how diesel fume exposure at work can cause cancer during a presentation by IOSH about its No Time to Lose campaign.

Around 100 professionals attended the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) ‘Armed Forces Environmental Health Conference’ on 1-3 March 2017, in Gosport.

Tim Briggs, Chair of IOSH’s Professional Standards Committee, gave a talk on the campaign and highlighted that according to research, in Britain, exposure to diesel fumes at work claims the lives of 650 people a year.

Tim said: “Cancer caused by exposure to diesel fumes is preventable. Businesses can put in place steps to minimise exposure by assessing the risks, putting in controls, monitoring levels of diesel exhaust fumes, implementing health surveillance, and training employees. By raising awareness now we can protect the health of current and future workers.”

He also provided delegates with practical information on how to control exposure such as switching to other forms of fuel where possible, for example or gas or electricity; replacing old engines with newer versions that have lower emissions; making sure that engines are maintained properly – especially fuel delivery systems; making sure diesel engine exhausts have filters; using ‘local exhaust ventilation’ in fixed or enclosed workplaces; and rotating jobs between different employees to minimise exposure.

Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Moore, Head of the Army Environmental Health Team at the MoD said: “The MoD Environmental Health Cadres which includes the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, fully support IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign and its efforts to drive down occupational cancer, in particular cancer caused by diesel fumes.

“The majority of our military vehicles have diesel engines, therefore we need to ensure we keep exposure levels as low as practicable. At the MoD we have both environmental health and health and safety professionals who routinely assess levels of diesel fumes and ensure they are controlled.

“The free practical resources from the No Time to Lose campaign are excellent to help educate and inform the workforce to help prevent occupational cancer caused by diesel fumes.”

For more information on how to control diesel fume exposure at work, download the No Time to Lose campaign’s diesel pack.

For more information please contact:

Bryan Henesey, Media Officer, +44 (0)116 257 3141 or +44 (0)798 000 4494

Marcus Boocock, Media Officer, +44 (0)116 257 3139 or +44 (0)798 000 4474

Tim Walsh, Head of Communications and Media, +44 (0)116 257 3252 or +44 (0)797 660 4715