Industry leaders and parliamentarians attend No Time to Lose launch in London

Industry leaders, parliamentarians, academics and occupational safety and health specialists congregated in Westminster last night (Monday 3 November) for the launch of a new campaign to beat occupational cancer.

4 November 2014

Around 100 people attended the House of Commons event, which kick-started an unprecedented drive, led by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), to cut the number of deaths from work-related cancer and raise awareness about the risks.

In a speech to attendees, IOSH CEO Jan Chmiel said: “We know that ‘good work’ is good for health and wellbeing and that all work should be safe and healthy.

“So, the enormous challenge to be addressed is known to us all here. But sadly, not to everyone, because the appalling and preventable cost of occupational cancer – for individuals, for business and for society – can be invisible and go unremarked.

“But, with a staggering two-thirds of a million annual global deaths to work-related cancer, the time has now come and the world must act. The call is a positive one. We can and must do more to tackle occupational disease and to manage health in the same way we manage safety – as part of an overall ‘culture of care’.”

An array of organisations has come out in support of the campaign, from the Office of Rail Regulation to Macmillan Cancer Support. Ben Plowden, of Transport for London, gave the industry perspective in a brief speech to guests.

Dr Lesley Rushton, lead researcher on the most comprehensive study into the occupational cancer burden on the UK, told those present about the positive impact more compliance with limits on carcinogens would have on the health of the nation. Increasing compliance with limits on silica, in industries like construction, from 33 per cent to 90 per cent would cut cancer deaths in the UK by an estimated 700 a year, she said.

In a supportive statement for the No Time to Lose campaign launch, read out at the House of Commons event, Mark Harper MP said: “As Minister of State with responsibility for health and safety, I’m well aware of the importance of a sensible approach to health and safety regulation… As the IOSH ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign rightly highlights, occupational cancer is a very serious issue, claiming the lives of an estimated 8,000 people each year in Britain.

“The Government approach to occupational cancer is to ensure compliance with current Health and Safety law  by working with partners to prevent worker exposure to harmful materials so that lives and livelihoods are protected. But more joint action is needed and everyone should play their role in raising awareness of occupational disease and ill health. I believe that by working together to address this problem, Britain’s workforce will enjoy a healthier and sustainable future.”

Contact Tim Walsh, IOSH Media Manager

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+44 (0)116 257 3252
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