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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
December 22, 2008

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Hazardous substances- Ignorance of toxic chemicals is letting employers off the

Around 250,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and the TUC estimates that work is the reason behind up to as many as 18,000 of these cancer diagnoses.

Although some of the most toxic chemicals used in the UK are subject to legal worker-exposure limits, the TUC stresses this doesn’t mean that work below these limits is safe. It says that, wherever possible, employers should try to eliminate toxic chemicals from their workplace. If this isn’t possible, they should look at changing ways of working and give staff effective protective clothing.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Workplace cancers kill around 15,000 to 18,000 people every year, compared with the 229 workplace fatalities caused by injury last year. Every one of these workplace cancer deaths is avoidable, and far more must be done to both increase awareness of the risks and also to remove employees’ exposure to carcinogens.”

He continued: “Many people simply do not know the risks from substances, such as wood dust, silica, and diesel particles, and even if they do develop cancer later in life, often they do not associate it with work exposure. As a result, there is far less pressure on employers to take action to remove the risks. That must change.”

The TUC guide to cancer in the workplace is at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/occupationalcancer.pdf

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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