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December 15, 2015

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UK’s first fire and rescue service signs up to IOSH campaign

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is backing a campaign to raise awareness of occupational cancer.

KFRS say they are the first UK fire and rescue service to make a pledge to the No Time to Lose drive, which is being run by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

They explain that the aim of No Time to Lose is to highlight common risk factors for occupational cancer registrations and deaths, including diesel engine exhaust emissions, solar radiation, asbestos and silica dust. KFRS add that more than 60 businesses have made a pledge to the campaign, including large organisations such as Royal Mail Group and construction firm Laing O’Rourke. Meanwhile over 110 organisations have endorsed the drive, which was launched at the Houses of Parliament in London, UK, late last year, they say.

According to KFRS, research conducted by Dr Lesley Rushton and her team at Imperial College, London, has linked thousands of cancer deaths with carcinogens found in the workplace, and almost 14,000 new cases of cancer caused by work are registered each year. There are about 8,000 deaths annually that are caused by occupational cancer in Britain, they add.

KFRS explain that IOSH aims to raise awareness and offer free practical materials to aid effective prevention programmes; organisations which make a pledge promise to take a number of actions, including developing an occupational cancer prevention strategy and ensuring employees use the preventative measures.

Ann Millington, Chief Executive of KFRS, said: “Kent Fire and Rescue Service is committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff. Though there is currently little research in the UK on the effects of carcinogens on firefighters, we want to be sure we minimise any risks faced by our staff.

“We will be working with our staff to review all areas of our work to identify where there could be potential exposure to hazardous materials, not just to firefighters but also to other staff including our fire investigators or mechanics.

“We aim to work with IOSH to make any necessary changes and introduce systems of work that can help minimise any possible exposures and make sure staff are aware of how they can protect themselves. We also want to highlight this important campaign to other fire services and will be keen to work with them to share good practice.”

Shelley Frost, Executive Director of Policy at IOSH, said: “We are very pleased to hear that Kent Fire and Rescue Service has made a pledge to our occupational cancer campaign. They have pledged to continue to do everything possible to minimise the risk of their firefighters, and other staff.”

For more information about the No Time to Lose campaign, visit

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