Leeds Beckett University signs occupational cancer campaign pledge

Leeds Beckett University has become the first education organisation to make a pledge to a campaign to raise awareness of work-related cancer.

21 July 2016

The university has given its backing to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) No Time to Lose drive.

The campaign is highlighting common risk factors for occupational cancer registrations and deaths, including diesel engine exhaust emissions, solar radiation, asbestos and silica dust.

In signing the pledge, the university has agreed to look into whether any work practices could lead to staff and students contracting cancer and, if so, put in place measures which can control the risks.

John Hamilton, Head of Safety, Health and Wellbeing, said: “Leeds Beckett University are delighted to support the IOSH No Time to Lose campaign.

“The damaging effects of occupational cancers on health can go unseen for long periods of time, and we are committed to raising awareness of occupational cancers through our Occupational Health Team via targeted initiatives but also at grass route level.

“Our commitment to safety, health and wellbeing is highlighted by the university having achieved the RoSPA Gold Medal for the seventh successive year and we will continue to put the health and wellbeing of our staff and other service providers to the top of our wellbeing agenda.

“We are pleased to be a part of the campaign and will continue to ensure that all our colleagues and stakeholders are aware of our commitment to highlighting the risks of carcinogens in the workplace.”

As part of the campaign, IOSH has developed free resources to assist businesses in identifying the risks faced by employees and developing ways of avoiding exposure to cancer-causing agents.

Research conducted by Dr Lesley Rushton and her team at Imperial College, London, has linked thousands of cancer deaths with carcinogens found in the workplace. Almost 14,000 new cases of cancer caused by work are registered each year, and about 8,000 deaths a year are caused by occupational cancer in Britain.

Leeds Beckett joins more than 80 other organisations to have made a pledge to the campaign, which was launched in November 2014. Meanwhile the campaign has been supported by nearly 150 organisations.

Tim Briggs, Immediate Past President of IOSH and Course Leader of Safety, Health and Environmental Management at Leeds Beckett, said: “I am delighted that Leeds Beckett has signed the campaign pledge. It is really good to see the university I work for taking a positive stance and developing the work that IOSH has started. The university is being very active in raising awareness about occupational cancer. 

“People should be able to go to work safe in the knowledge that they won’t be exposed to something which could harm their health. It is great to see so many organisations supporting the IOSH campaign. It demonstrates there is a real appetite for raising awareness about, and reducing the rate of, occupational cancer.”

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