Hazards in the workplace

Hazards in the workplace

Hazards in the workplace

Hazards in the workplace

It is a well known fact that construction, manufacturing and agriculture are among the group of high risk industries. May-be not as much as the offshore, nuclear or the military but the first three give employment to a bigger percentage of the working population.

 

The most common hazards in the workplace are those provoked by falling from heights, Hand- Arm Vibration related, diseases and slips and trips. However, it is hard to believe that there is still very little attention given to cancer related occupational diseases.

 

A recent study “The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain” (2012, conducted by Dr Lesley Rushton) has concluded that every year around 5% of all cancer deaths and 13,600 new cancer cases are caused by work related risks. Unbelievably, the plague of the last centuries is still underestimated at the workplace…

Hazards in the workplace

Research has identified that the construction industry is one of the industries where the exposure to cancer hazards is the biggest. This is mainly due to the fact that 7% of the country’s working force is employed in construction businesses. Half of the work- related cancer deaths are among male workers who are highly likely to be exposed to asbestos or other carcinogens such as silica and diesel engine fumes.

 

According to the study, after asbestos, the most cancer- hazardous activities are: the service industry where working night-shifts is common, especially linked to female breast cancer; mineral oils in the metal and printing industries, representing high percentages of bladder, lung and non-melanoma skin cancers; agriculture and construction where the sun exposure of workers is considerable and provoking skin cancers.

 

The tendency is that those numbers and cases are going to rise as they have been doing since 2004 when the gathering of data about the issue started. What the study is trying to and clearly does, is to demonstrate that there certainly is a direct logical connection between our jobs and the risk of developing cancer at some point in our lives.

 

Also at present the best cure that we have against cancer is its prevention. So while new recommendations and measures are still to be developed and introduced, the best employers and employees can do is to comply with the existing ones.

 

This is very important particularly for small businesses and self-employed workers. Rising awareness among them to conduct regular risk assessments of potentially dangerous activities and taking simple measures such as water suppression of dust, improved ventilation, regular maintenance of machinery, use of appropriate PPE (Personnel Protective Equipment), reduction of night- shifts where possible, regular use of high factor sunscreen protection etc., could be beneficial for everybody. (I know that this last one would be quiet difficult to comply with, especially among construction workers. The popular “macho-man” attitude in this case should be changed.)

 

Once again, with risk to repeat ourselves - health and safety regulations do save lives.

And not to forget that here we are talking about simple measures which can help to prevent the big C… May be its worth re-thinking our attitude. Change almost always starts from the inside.

Hazards in the workplace

Remember that you do not necessarily have to be working in a nuclear power station to develop serious health disease due to work hazards. This is an on- going battle against a powerful plague which is predicted to rise “in 2027 50 out of every 100 men are likely to be diagnosed with cancer and 44 out of every 100 women. Or one in every two people”…(Cancer Research UK statistics)

Hazards in the workplace was written by one of our top health and safety consultant Derby

 

 

Leave a Reply