Multidisciplinary approach needed to prevent cancers caused by work

In Europe, almost 80,000 people die a year from cancer caused by exposure to carcinogens at work, including asbestos fibres, diesel fumes, silica dust and mineral oils. For millions of people across the world, working with these carcinogens is a harsh reality in their daily jobs.

IOSH Vice-President Michelle Muxworthy will chair a workshop in Brussels to exchange good-practice advice on the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in tackling occupational cancer in the workplace at an event organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) on 5-6 March.

IOSH is an official campaign partner of EU-OSHA’s Europe-wide ‘Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances’ campaign, which highlights the importance of managing dangerous substances at work to help prevent ill-health. IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign has been raising awareness of and reducing exposure risks that cause occupational cancer for over four years. This experience directly informs its partnership work with EU-OSHA.

In support of the campaign, Michelle will chair a workshop on 5 March entitled ‘Carcinogens – Multidisciplinary collaboration’. Participants will share how different disciplines and stakeholders are currently working together to identify, prevent and monitor occupational cancer and tackle exposure risk at workplaces across Europe, and how crucial this collaboration is

Cancer, respiratory illnesses and skin diseases are some of the health issues caused by exposure to hazardous substances at work and there are over 50 workplace substances linked to cancer.

Michelle said: Many sectors and countries have already stopped or limited exposures to hazardous substances, but much more needs to be done. We can beat occupational cancer if we work together to control these exposure risks.

“Whether you’re a toxicologist, researcher, OSH professional, medical professional or safety and health professional, we all have a part to play if we want to stop cancers caused by work.”

IOSH is committed to preventing occupational cancer risks and has been raising awareness of work-related carcinogens through its No Time to Lose campaign over the last four years.

Michelle will also be presenting at a separate workshop on 6 March entitled ‘Environment and Occupational Safety and Health’, which will explore how to create healthy conditions in the workplace and why occupational health and safety and environmental protection must be more closely linked with EU regulations.

Michelle’s talk will cover the role of occupational safety and health in the corporate social responsibility and sustainability agenda.