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BOHS publishes Workplace Health Protection guide

04 April 2023

IN CELEBRATION of 70 years of preventing worker ill health, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), a leading scientific charity and the Royal Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection has brought together for the first time its past and current technical guidance for free access in one place.

An A-Z guide has been prepared by the Society’s Faculty of Occupational Hygiene. The guide presents a unique resource for scientists, health and safety professionals, and also for industrial disease lawyers as it includes materials which lay out the standards of protection achievable for controlling exposures to hazards at work responsible for serious illness in later life. The guide to current and archived Technical Guidance can be found on the Society’s website Technical Guidance page. There are also links and signposting to relevant guidance published by other organisations.

A wealth of additional scientific research is also accessible via the Society’s Journal, the Annals of Work Exposures and Health, with many free to access papers.

BOHS celebrates its 70th Anniversary in 2023 and since it was founded has worked tirelessly to understand and prevent immediate threats to health, but also “long latency diseases” which result in serious illness sometimes decades later. It has been responsible for leading on standards, technical and scientific practice in the prevention of illness in the workplace over decades. It is also the world’s biggest awarding body for Occupational Hygiene and Asbestos-related qualifications, which lead to competence in protecting people from ill-health ranging from occupational cancers through to noise induced hearing loss, back injury, and Legionnaire’s Disease.

Chris Keen, BOHS president and HSE principal occupational scientist says, "Over the years scientists and occupational hygiene practitioners in BOHS have led the way in the development of protection of health in the workplace. The range of expertise which has been voluntarily offered to address every manner of occupational health risk from radiation to rare metals is amazing as demonstrated in this archive. BOHS continues to be a leading voice in worker health protection, and we will continue working hard to ensure people enjoy a better quality of life at work and a healthier life into their retirement."

Sarah Leeson, registrar of the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene says, "The Faculty is delighted to make freely available valuable technical guidance which is regularly applied by those practicing Occupational Hygiene.  Guidance on better protection from illness related to metalworking is currently being developed. Links to this and other new resources will be added to the A-Z guide as they become available."

The Society is also supporting work to reduce exposure of nurses to cancer-causing chemicals, protecting demolition workers from long-term health risks and developing training to prevent mental health problems caused by work.

BOHS CEO, Professor Kevin Bampton comments, “Every day we see the crisis in health and social care worsening and a spiralling benefits bill. By stopping people getting ill in the workplace, where we spend most of our waking adult lives, we can turn this around. The workplace is an environment which is entirely human created. BOHS is dedicated to making that environment a safe one whatever job you do.”

He adds, "The Society’s scientific endeavour is motivated by the belief that no person should ever enter a workplace thinking that as well as their time and skills, they need to sacrifice their long-term health for wages. But not all of this is rocket science. I’d much rather see cancer specialists dealing with rare genetic cancers for children than having to treat cancers that could have been prevented by someone wearing, at the very least, a £20 respirator at work."