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Latest estimates suggest as many as a quarter of a million lives may be lost every year to the work-related effects of exposure to asbestos.
I have been pleased to support the IOSH No Time to Lose campaign over the past four years as it tackles the global burden of occupational cancer in a practical way by enlisting the support of companies, the OSH professionals who dedicate their working lives to the health and wellbeing of their colleagues, transnational organisations like the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), and the Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore, to which I am affiliated.
We need broad international collaboration to recognise and market new and evidence-based practices. In recent discussions with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), we concluded that, of all types, occupational cancer is both a feasible and realistic target for action. Of all occupational carcinogens, asbestos remains the most lethal.
In the ICOH statement Global Asbestos Ban and the Elimination of Asbestos-Related Diseases, (bit.ly/2FM8ODp), we urge every country to implement a total ban on production and use of asbestos. ICOH also urges complementary efforts aimed at primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of asbestos-related diseases through country-specific national programmes, in line with International Labour Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
We need international collaboration to recognise and market new evidence-based practices
To date, the import, export and use of asbestos has been banned in 62 countries. However, major producers and users, such as Russia, China, Kazakhstan and India, refuse to acknowledge the long-latency carcinogenic effects of workers' exposure to asbestos fibres. These four countries and Indonesia are the main consumers of asbestos, and many smaller nations do not restrict exposure to it.
I propose a global programme to "eliminate occupational cancer -- zero tolerance to occupational cancer", which is supported by all key global stakeholders, in particular ILO, WHO including the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the EU. Professional organisations, such as IOSH, ICOH and Collegium Ramazzini, should contribute to this as best they can.
An integrated approach to occupational safety and health that draws on high-quality data, targets and indicators is important, but significant differences between countries must be considered, such as labour inspection resources or occupational health services.
At ICOH 2018 in Dublin from 29 April to 4 May, we will convene a global forum under the heading "prevention of occupational cancer: global policies and strategies".
Leading policymakers and experts will come together and discuss with congress participants the policies, strategies and practices for occupational cancer prevention. They will look at how the practical implementation of policies and strategies and research and expert knowledge can help to narrow the implementation gap in application.
The asbestos element of the No Time to Lose campaign, launched on 9 April, will play an important role in reaching vulnerable workers worldwide.
The site had been recertified to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard only months before the leak.The incident seemed to support the common criticism of management systems standards certification, that it was possible to be accredited just for having a system, even if it did not bear much relation to day-to-day management.
He died aged 64 in June 2016 from asbestosis. According to the labour union GMB, of which the worker was a member, he was exposed to considerable amounts of the harmful fibres while carrying out fitting asbestos lagging during the 1960s and 1970s. He was an apprentice at Spousal (Midlands) before going on to work for Cape Darlington. After his diagnosis, the victim obtained a provisional damages order in 2008 which meant he could return to court if the condition worsened.
Quainton Logistics and Storage had let conditions on site fall well below the expected standards, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).Workers had not been given personal protective equipment and used crow bars to smash up asbestos cement roof sheets, which then had been left on top of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) and forklift trucks.They were also working near open service pits without fall restraint equipment or edge protection, and a MEWP had been parked 1 m away from the perimeter of one of the pits.
An Opinium survey of 500 workers found that 32% of respondents have never checked the asbestos register before starting work on a new site. Almost half of these workers (15% of the total sample) do not know about asbestos registers.The survey was conducted ahead of today’s launch of the fourth phase of IOSH’s No Time to Lose occupational cancer campaign. Nearly one in four workers (23%) told Opinium that they believed they may have been exposed to asbestos fibres.
David Lloyd, asbestos operations manager at Excavation and Contracting (UK), forged documents, including a medical certificate in the name of operations manager Lee Cooper and training certificates for Cooper and managing director Brendan O’Halloran, so the company could obtain a licence to trade.The doctor who had allegedly issued the medical certificates had retired sometime earlier and no longer resided in the UK.