Balkans conference to highlight occupational cancers
Thursday 10th November 2016
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Experts will discuss how the region can work more closely to highlight the issue, and take preventative action, during the Balkan Occupational Safety and Health Network's (BALcanOSHnet) second International Conference for Regional Collaboration.
IOSH President Graham Parker and Malcolm McIntyre, Chair of the Institution's New Accession Countries working party (NAC), will join speakers from Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Romania and the Netherlands in addressing the conference in Bled, Slovenia, on 10-11 November.
Graham will highlight the global reach of IOSH's No Time to Lose occupational cancer campaign and cast a spotlight on silica dust as a carcinogen. Malcolm is also to address the conference on the link between diesel engine exhaust emissions and occupational cancer, and share his expertise on excavation safety.
More than 170 organisations worldwide have to-date given their support to No Time to Lose, with the campaign having also been cited as a good practice solution on the tackling occupational cancer by the European 'Roadmap on Carcinogens' initiative.
"The success of the IOSH No Time to Lose campaign on a global scale has been phenomenal," Graham said.
"In sharing this information with other organisations in the Balkans region, IOSH hopes that best practice examples can be translated into genuine lifesaving opportunities."
As part of its support of this conference, IOSH has had the No Time to Lose materials adapted and translated into Slovenian. It follows a commitment to the campaign by conference organisers the Society of Safety Engineers Ljubljana, Slovenian Chamber of Health and Safety at Work and Slovenian Association of Societies of Safety.
Around 400 workers are diagnosed each year with occupational cancers in Slovenia, including 30 cases of the asbestos-related condition mesothelioma. In the past, many businesses in Slovenia used asbestos, resulting in an estimated annual exposure of over 23,000 workers.
Luka Bratec, of the Society of Safety Engineers Ljubljana, said: "We are very honoured to be working with such a world-renowned institution as IOSH.
"The No Time to Lose campaign, with its holistic approach, gives stakeholders practical advice to identify hazards and to provide protection from exposure. The organisation of this conference is our contribution to raising awareness of the issue in support of No Time to Lose."
He added: "Above all, we would like everyone to realise that occupational cancer is a problem in our region, but that there are ways to cope with it - especially if we manage to connect all stakeholders and collaborate between us."
The Institution and its NAC working party have been supporting efforts to set up a network of occupational safety and health organisations across the Balkans in recent years.
The BALcanOSHnet was formed in 2015, with the network having since received EU funding for a three-year project to raise the standards of health and safety in the region.
Malcolm said: "At the first Balkan networks conference in Macedonia last year, I presented a general introduction on the No Time to Lose campaign. Since then the interest has been staggering.
"IOSH has been named as an associate partner in this EU-funded project and we are currently preparing materials from the No Time to Lose campaign, which will be presented at several training days in each of these countries, starting in June 2017."
The Institution has worked with the Center for Safety and Health at Work in Bulgaria to adapt and translate the campaign’s free materials into Bulgarian.A dedicated website – www.notimetolose.org.uk/bulgaria - has also been developed to further highlight the support for No Time to Lose in the country.The new materials and website were both launched during an event hosted by the Center for Safety and Health at Work, in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 22 November.
The Roadmap is a voluntary action scheme which aims to share good practice between businesses across Europe to reduce workers exposure to cancer-causing substances.The scheme was launched at the ‘Preventing work-related cancer, conference on carcinogens’, hosted by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, in Amsterdam, earlier this year.
The ‘Avoid Harm on the Farm’ calendar has been released by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), and features winning entries from its child farm safety poster competition this year.Over 5,000 schoolchildren from more than 100 schools submitted entries to the ‘Be Aware Kids’ competition, highlighting common farm safety issues including slurry gas, working at height, livestock and farm machinery.
More than 120 people gathered at Mountbellew Agricultural College, Co Galway, to hear advice from industry leaders and watch live demonstrations of best practice around a variety of common agricultural tasks.Hints and tips on the correct use of chainsaws and tractors, as well as livestock management, farm building maintenance and slurry safety, were all offered up by experts from the college, Teagasc, Coillte, Height for Hire and IOSH.
IOSH's Hazardous Industries Group commissioned the event alongside the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to explain the rationale behind the strict systems governing the sector.Making use of HSL’s extensive large-scale testing facilities, demonstrations included a dust cloud explosion, drum bursting, pool fires and hydraulic fluid fires. The event, called ‘Hazardous industries with a bang – an introduction to process hazards’, was hosted by HSL, which is part of the Health and Safety Executive, on Wednesday 9 November.