The Considerate Constructors Scheme has published a new 'Spotlight on...' initiative focusing on occupational cancers, which aims to raise awareness of how the industry can help to safeguard its workforce against occupational cancers - where protection and early intervention is critical - before it’s too late.
The construction workforce is at a greater risk of developing cancer, notably skin and lung cancer at work compared with any other industry group, if the risks posed fail to be appropriately managed. A number of the substances potentially causing risk include asbestos, silica, diesel engine exhaust emissions, paint and prolonged exposure to UV radiation. Without appropriate control measures in place, the workforce can be harmfully exposed by breathing these substances in or absorbing them through the skin.
Edward Hardy, Chief Executive of the Considerate Constructors Scheme said: “A staggering 40% of total occupational cancer deaths arise within the construction industry. There’s no doubt that more awareness raising and preventative measures need to be adopted across the industry. The Scheme monitors around 8000 sites, companies and suppliers every year, and therefore plays a critical role in helping to raise awareness on the ground.”
It is difficult to determine the true extent of occupational cancers as in many cases individuals fail to develop any noticeable symptoms of either skin or lung cancers until many years later. Therefore, occupational cancers are often not viewed as a high risk health and safety issue.
Hardy continues “The good news is that many of those registered with the Scheme are taking action. Examples include proactively removing carcinogen and hazardous substances, isolating high risk areas, introducing controls to reduce exposure, providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to match the working conditions, raising general awareness and offering appropriate support and advice.”
Visit www.ccscheme.org.uk or www.ccsbestpractice.org.uk to find a wealth of advice, useful information, case studies and links to other organisations and bodies to provide more information about dealing with occupational cancers.