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Call for businesses to prevent work-related lung cancer

31 July 2018

BUSINESSES ARE urged to save lives by accessing free practical resources to reduce the terrible toll of work-related lung cancer.

A staggering 260,000 people die annually from lung, trachea and bronchus cancers caused by carcinogenic exposures at work.

Ahead of #WorldLungCancerDay, being held on Wednesday 1 August, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) have joined forces to encourage employers to take action.

In Britain alone, asbestos-related cancer kills 5,000 people every year, with silica dust claiming 800 lives and diesel engine exhaust emissions taking the lives of more than 600. 

To tackle this significant health issue, IOSH has developed free practical resources as part of its No Time to Lose campaign.

IOSH president Craig Foyle said, "Occupation-related lung cancer is preventable. IOSH has developed a range of resources, from factsheets explaining how to develop a prevention strategy to toolbox talks, leaflets and posters to help engage and educate the workforce.

“We’re also encouraging businesses worldwide to sign-up to our pledge to protect employees from carcinogenic exposures. The pledge is a six-step action plan which captures what organisations are doing, or planning to do, to tackle harmful exposures.

“I encourage businesses to get involved in the campaign on World Lung Cancer Day as there really is ‘No Time to Lose’.”

Linda Reinstein, Co-founder of ADAO, based in the USA and a No Time to Lose campaign supporter, said: 

“The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) supports the great efforts of IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign to prevent occupational cancer by providing businesses with free practical resources to take action.

“I look forward to working with IOSH by sharing resources from the No Time to Lose campaign and our ‘Know Asbestos’ campaign on World Lung Cancer Day. By working together, we can raise awareness and save lives from asbestos-related cancer.”

More than 100 leading businesses from around the world have already signed-up to IOSH’s No Time to lose pledge, including Laing O’Rourke, MTR Corporation Ltd and JMS Mining Services. 

Organisations such as professional bodies, charities and educational establishments can also support the campaign by providing a supporting statement. No Time to Lose currently has over 250 supporters globally who have committed to raising awareness of occupational carcinogens. 

Dr Jukka Takala, from the Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore and President of the International Commission on Occupational Health, who revealed the toll of work-related lung cancers last year along with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland, said, “Latest estimates suggest as many as a quarter of a million lives may be lost every year to the work-related effects of exposure to asbestos.

“I have been pleased to support the IOSH No Time to Lose campaign over the past four years as it tackles the global burden of occupational cancer in a practical way by enlisting the support of companies, the occupational safety and health professionals who dedicate their working lives to the health and wellbeing of their colleagues, and transnational organisations like the International Commission on Occupational Health and the Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore, to which I am affiliated.”

World Lung Cancer Day is organised by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) to commemorate and support those impacted by lung cancer. FIRS is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies who are working together to improve lung health globally.

Organisations are encouraged to get involved by tweeting using the hashtag #WorldLungCancerDay. To join the conversation on social media, follow @_NTTL on Twitter.

To find out more about IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign and to get free resources to prevent exposure to asbestos, silica dust and diesel engine exhaust emissions, go to www.notimetolose.org.uk.