Spotlight on – IOSH’s No Time To Lose Campaign

IOSH’s No Time To Lose Campaign

The aim of the No Time to Lose Campaign is to bring about better understanding of the causes of occupational cancer, and to help businesses take action. The campaign is working to:

  • Get carcinogenic exposure issues more widely understood
  • Raise awareness of the issue
  • Suggest some solutions to tackle the problem in the UK, with a national model that could be transposed internationally
  • Offer free practical advice and original, effective materials to help businesses implement prevention programmes.

It aims to spread the idea that small changes on the workplace can result in a big difference.

Work Cancer: The Facts

Occupational cancer refers to all cancers contracted following exposure to a cancer-causing agent – ‘carcinogen’ – whilst at work. The International Labour Office have stated that occupational cancer is by far the largest cause of workplace deaths.

The main statistic driving the campaign is that cancer caused by work causes at least 666,000 deaths worldwide per year. That’s equivalent to 1 death every 47 seconds. Cancer caused by work is the fifth biggest cause of avoidable cancers in the UK.

Occupational cancer is, unfortunately, nothing new with the first known case being identified in 1775. In fact the first death from exposure to asbestos was recorded in 1899. Despite the longevity of the problem, asbestos remains the biggest work cancer killer.

The No Time to Lose campaign has seen IOSH draw on research from Imperial College, London which found:

  • Almost 14,000 new cases of cancer cause by work are registered each year
  • There are around 8,000 deaths a year from occupational cancer
  • The annual financial cost of this to individuals, employers and the government is estimated as being in the ‘double figure’ billions.

The most common work cancers are lung cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer.

The campaign aims to educate people that asbestos is not the only cause of workplace related cancers. Unfortunately, there are over 50 substances implicated in work-caused cancers, and these include:

  • Asbestos
  • Coal tars
  • Diesel fumes
  • Metalworking fluids
  • Mineral oils
  • Pesticides
  • Pitches
  • Silica dust
  • Solar radiation
  • Solvents
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Varnishes
  • Wood dusts

 How does the campaign help?

The campaign is offering:

  • Access to free information
  • Free, practical resources available to download or order
  • The opportunity to ask an expert panel for advice
  • A national action plan

Myth Busting

As well as providing clear information on occupational cancer, the No Time to Lose campaign is also trying to dispel misinformation and existing myths about work cancer. Some of these myths are listed below.

Myth: The Number of occupational cancer cases is falling
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. For example the number of mesothelioma deaths caused by asbestos exposure has risen from just over 400 cases per year in 1982, to over 2,000 a year in 2010.

Myth: Occupational cancer only affects you later in life
The first recorded death attributed to asbestos exposure was a 33 year old man. Work-related cancer isn’t necessarily about age, but about how long your exposure to carcinogens was.

Myth: Exposures are something of the past
Think again. When was the last time you went past a work site where a labourer was half hidden in a cloud of dust?


No Time To Lose

no time to lose


Find out more…

Find out more about the campaign on the website here including free resources here.

Follow the campaign on twitter @_NTTL 


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