November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Four industry experts outline what they are doing to manage the risk of disease.
Emma Larkins CMIOSH
Consultant and tutor, The Bradley Group
We support employees and clients through information and awareness. We help clients understand where exposure to possibly carcinogenic substances could occur, allowing them to put appropriate controls in place. Promoting awareness of symptoms can also help our staff and our clients to spot early signs of illness. A unified relationship between environmental and health and safety management may help to manage longer-term risk. If we can improve environmental air quality as a whole, we stand a better chance of managing lung cancer risks in the long term.
John McNamee CMIOSH
Co-founder and principal consultant at Ravensdale Health, Safety & Wellbeing
With more than 50 substances linked to cancer in common use across industry, eliminating occupational risk is a tall order. But if organisations keep looking for more sustainable and health-enhancing methods and substances, positive change is inevitable. However, I fear the focus on mental health and wellbeing may detract from work-related cancers. With millions of people affected by carcinogens such as asbestos fibres, silica dust, diesel fumes and mineral oils, policy-makers must do more. Elimination is the only long-term solution. Looking to potential risks associated with emerging technologies could prevent the cancers of tomorrow.
Amy Goldsbrough CMIOSH
Regional health and safety manager (North West), Unite Students
We train our employees to spot work-related hazards and implement controls for any substance that could be harmful to health. A lot of our work involves cleaning and maintaining customers’ rooms. We’ve trialled different chemicals to find the safest options that require minimal PPE for our employees. We’ve also reviewed our approved suppliers list to ensure we’re working with contractors who are aligned with our values. As an organisation, we aim to create a safe environment where our employees are curious about the hazards they may be exposed
to during their working life.
Samantha Mepham CMIOSH
Partner, health and safety, Rider Levett Bucknall
With 742,000 lives a year lost to work-related cancer worldwide, the No Time to Lose campaign remains significant. As a construction consultancy, we ensure our teams understand the hazards and risks they could encounter. The key to continued success will be raising and maintaining awareness – complacency over time is common, so the message should be reinforced. Organisations should look to increase training and consultation, change policies to reduce or remove exposure and, in the longer term, work with other industries to find ways of eradicating carcinogens completely.