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IOSH raises asbestos awareness

31 March 2020

IOSH’S NO Time to Lose campaign is partnering with the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s (ADAO) Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) from 01 to 07 April to help raise awareness of asbestos, the world’s biggest cause of work-related cancer.

GAAW is themed ‘One Word. One Week. One World’ and will bring together experts and victims from around the world to share, learn and take action to prevent exposure to asbestos.

With the COVID-19 outbreak really focusing the minds of employers on how to keep their employees healthy, GAAW is a timely reminder to help organisations make the right decisions and protect their workers from unnecessary workplace risks such as asbestos, which claims at least 107,000 lives a year worldwide.

The initiative will share stories of mesothelioma victims, advice and guidance from the World Health Organization, and digital education from IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign to promote prevention of exposure to asbestos.

IOSH chief executive Bev Messinger, said, “We’re proud to be partnering with ADAO for Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2020. Through our No Time to Lose campaign, we’ve a range of resources that can help organisations manage the risks of exposure to asbestos and I’d encourage employers to use these and other advice, provided by organisations such as ADAO, to keep their workers safe.

“In these challenging times, we wish everyone and their families well, and I can assure you that IOSH and its members are doing absolutely everything we can to protect people at work, wherever they be.”

ADAO’s co-founder and mesothelioma widow, Linda Reinstein, said: “We’re excited to be collaborating with IOSH to help highlight our educational messages on preventing asbestos exposure globally.

“The simple truth is asbestos kills and prevention remains the only cure. Asbestos-caused diseases like mesothelioma can take years, even decades, to kill, but the hidden risk of asbestos fibres only takes a few heartbeats to tell. While we continue to deal with a difficult global pandemic, patients with asbestos-related diseases face an even greater risk. We remain dedicated to our prevention and policy work to eliminate all asbestos-caused diseases.” 

During GAAW, IOSH and ADAO will encourage organisations to support the No Time to Lose campaign and sign up to its pledge. The pledge is a six-step plan which captures the key actions an organisation is already taking, or planning to take, to manage carcinogenic exposures within its workplace. Businesses that make a pledge will be eligible for an IOSH No Time to Lose campaign certificate.

More than 390 organisations from 40 countries are supporting the campaign and have agreed to raise awareness of occupational cancer, and 135 leading businesses have signed up to the pledge to manage carcinogens in the workplace. 

ADAO became an official supporter of No Time to Lose two years ago. Since then, ADAO has collaborated with IOSH on a range of activities from presenting at high-profile global conferences to co-branding campaign resources and sharing on social media. In last year’s GAAW, IOSH Chief Executive Bev Messinger presented No Time to Lose at ADAO’s 15th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference

Find out more about Global Asbestos Awareness Week and join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #2020GAAW and tagging @IOSH_tweets, @_NTTL and @Linda_ADAO in your posts.