Organisations get behind IOSH occupational cancer campaign

Major construction firms have pledged to take action to cut deaths from occupational cancer.

Laing O’Rourke, Skanska and Morgan Sindall are among 19 organisations which have made a pledge as part of the No Time to Lose drive.

Joining them in pledging to the scheme, launched by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), are fellow construction companies Bam Nuttall, Dribuild, HB Projects, Volker Wessels UK and Uplands.

The IOSH drive calls for a collaboration of government and employers to take action to cut the number of deaths caused by exposure to dangerous carcinogens in the workplace.

The campaign pledge asks companies to commit to action plans including assessing whether activities carried out by staff could put them at risk of contracting cancer, and demanding supply chains work to the same standards.

Many other companies have endorsed the campaign.

Paul Lynchehaun, Director of Health, Safety and Sustainability at Laing O’Rourke, explained why his firm had signed up.

In a statement, he said:

“A key priority of Laing O’Rourke’s Mission Zero agenda is the prevention of work-related illness – we’re pleased to support IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign, seeking to raise awareness of the dangers of occupational cancers.”

Martin Worthington, Director of Safety and Sustainability at Morgan Sindall, said:

“A key pillar of Morgan Sindall’s ‘100% Safe’ programme is safe lives, which focuses on recognising and eliminating long-term occupational health effects.

“Along with the HSE and many other companies, we are working hard to ensure that occupational health is treated in the same way as safety.

“Morgan Sindall is pleased to be supporting IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign which will raise the understanding of occupational cancers, and assist companies to take action to ensure that these are prevented in the future.”

In a statement, Bam Nuttall said:

“Bam Nuttall sees health and safety as a matter of foremost importance.

“With our ‘Beyond zero’ commitment, through visible leadership, a strong health and safety culture and continual improvement, we strive for levels of performance where accidents are eliminated and health is enhanced.

“We recognise that critical occupational health issues should be given as prominent a place in our vision as safety issues, and therefore welcome IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign.”

IOSH is looking for more organisations to sign up to No Time to Lose, aiming to raise awareness of occupational cancer and its devastating impact.

According to conservative estimates, 8,000 people die from cancer a year in the UK because of exposure to a work-related carcinogen, such as diesel exhaust fumes, silica dust or asbestos fibres. About 14,000 contract the disease each year.

Caroline Patel, Head of Campaigns at IOSH, said:

“We’re delighted to see companies from PM Group to Thames Water getting involved with our campaign to tackle work-related cancer, showing real leadership on a significant issue facing workplaces in the UK and internationally. We know that if enough responsible businesses lead the way, supply chain contractors and smaller players within the key sectors should follow their example.

“For too long, serious occupational health issues such as work-caused cancer have been in the shadow of safety, and this campaign is helping businesses to redress the balance.”

For a full list of firms which are involved visit www.notimetolose.org.uk/Get-involved.aspx