No Time to Lose highlighted at Washington conference

IOSH Chief Executive Bev Messinger (pictured) highlighted how the Institution’s No Time to Lose (NTTL) campaign is raising awareness of asbestos and how to manage it during a global conference in Washington DC.

The 15th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference was held from 5-7 April to bring together experts, survivors, unions and lawmakers to connect and share the latest education, advocacy, and community support efforts.

In her presentation, Bev gave an overview of NTTL before focusing on the asbestos phase, informing delegates about IOSH’s free practical materials, providing information about managing asbestos and encouraging people to get involved in the campaign.

The event came at the end of Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW, 1-7 April), during which IOSH engaged in a series of activities.

The week was organised by NTTL supporter the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent non-profit in the US dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure, eliminating asbestos-related diseases, and protecting asbestos victims’ civil rights through education, advocacy, and community initiatives.

On Thursday 4 April, IOSH held a webinar, called ‘Preventing asbestos exposure risks’, in partnership with ADAO and the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS).

The webinar was hosted by Craig Foyle, Immediate Past President of IOSH, and also featured Linda Reinstein, Co-Founder and President of ADAO, and Jonathan Ford, from the BOHS’s Faculty for Asbestos Assessment and Management Board.

Two hundred and fifty people listened into the webinar, which is now available to be viewed back here.

Earlier in the week, IOSH featured heavily in the UK’s national news, with media focusing on the fact that 5,000 people die every year as a result of work-related asbestos exposure. Coverage included ITV News, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Mirror  and The Daily Express.

This coverage led to IOSH being mentioned in the House of Lords. Baroness Buscombe, on behalf of the UK Government, welcomed “the efforts by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to raise awareness of the health risks arising from Workplace exposure to asbestos”.

This prompted a House of Lords written question from Lord Alton of Liverpool and the Government’s answer.

There was a series of activity on social media, with 40 posts from IOSH receiving 1,207 clicks, 517 likes, 348 shares or retweets and a reach/impressions of 860,499. The NTTL asbestos resources were downloaded more than 1,500 times, and the website had over 5,000 visits.

Bev Messinger said: “It is unacceptable that organisations are still potentially putting at risk the lives of employees, their families and other members of the public.

“Thousands of people die every year from cancers like mesothelioma, while many more are diagnosed with it. We must also consider the families of these people, who have to watch their loved ones suffer.

“All this is preventable through good occupational safety and health. It is time for organisations to wake up and realise how dangerous asbestos is. There are no excuses.”

Linda Reinstein, from ADAO, said: “As a mesothelioma widow, asbestos-caused deaths are beyond painful for the patient and leave a shattered family behind. It’s inexcusable for anyone to be exposed to this known carcinogen in the 21st Century. Prevention remains the only cure. 

“By working together, we can raise awareness and save lives from asbestos-related diseases.”

Find out more about the No Time to Lose campaign, and how you can get involved.