Occupational cancer campaign to be discussed in Scottish Parliament

Scottish firms are to be encouraged to join a campaign to cut deaths from work-related cancer.

10 March 2015

Dr Karen McDonnell, President Elect of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), will speak about the importance of the organisation’s No Time to Lose drive at the home of the Scottish Parliament.

IOSH is calling on governments, businesses, regulators and professionals to take action against occupational cancer by controlling workers’ exposure to dangerous carcinogens.

Dr McDonnell’s speech will be heard at a meeting of the Cross Party Group on Accident Prevention and Safety Awareness at Holyrood on Wednesday 11 March. She will call on companies to show their support for the initiative.

She said: “Families in Scotland and other parts of the world have suffered the terrible effects of work-related cancer for too long.

“This campaign is seeking to prevent others suffering in the same way, by raising awareness and encouraging organisations to join in and take preventative action.

“The meeting on 11 March is a very high-profile event and is a great opportunity to spread the message about the No Time to Lose campaign.”

IOSH launched the campaign late last year after research revealed that in Great Britain around 8,000 deaths a year are caused by occupational cancer, and it’s estimated that at least 666,000 people worldwide die every year from cancer caused by risk factors at workplace. These include asbestos, silica dust, diesel engine exhaust emissions, shift work and solar radiation.

The campaign has been supported by dozens of organisations, both large and small, from a range of sectors.

The supporters include the Scottish Government. In a supporting statement, Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, urged employers to sign up.

He said: “It is extremely important that employers are aware of the causes of this illness and take the necessary action to protect their workers.

“By raising awareness of occupational cancer, and getting carcinogenic exposures issues more widely understood, the No Time to Lose campaign could help save thousands of lives.”

The focus of the meeting, convened by Clare Adamson, MSP for Central Scotland, is occupational safety. There will also be presentations by IOSH Scotland Chair Jim Tassell, Professor Andrew Watterson, of Stirling University, and Michael Cross, HSE Director Scotland and Northern England.

Clare Adamson MSP said: “I am very pleased to play a part in bringing discussion and consideration of this very important subject into the heart of the Scottish Parliament.

“By exchanging the most up to date information and raising awareness of what can be done to prevent the scourge of deaths from work-related cancer, we hope to make a real and positive impact on this problem.”

Contact Tim Walsh, IOSH Media Manager

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