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Fri10192018

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Back Climate Change Carbon Footprint The fight goes on against the “despicable disease” that is mesothelioma

The fight goes on against the “despicable disease” that is mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a “despicable disease”, but there is an opportunity to “fight it head-on”. That was the message from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) at the launch of the latest phase of its No Time to Lose campaign.

The event was held on 9 April at BMA House in London. On the same day an IOSH-organised ‘thunderclap’ – a social media tool used to spread messages to as wide an audience as possible – was sent out from 295 social media accounts, reaching an audience of nearly half-a-million.

At the seminar, stakeholders and industry professionals heard how IOSH plans to raise awareness of the risks of exposure to asbestos – the most deadly carcinogen – in workplaces.

Every year, well over 100,000 people die across the globe from an asbestos-related disease; yet an estimated 125 million are still exposed at work annually. In the UK alone, the annual death toll from asbestos-related diseases caused by workplace exposure stands at about 5,000. The most common of those diseases is mesothelioma.

Liz Darlison, director of services at the charity Mesothelioma UK, described No Time to Lose as a “wonderful campaign” and urged delegates to take action. She said: “Mesothelioma is the most despicable cancer you can imagine being diagnosed with. It’s a death sentence.

“In the UK, we have an opportunity to fight this disease head on and do something about it. This cancer is preventable. It should never have happened.”

Liz highlighted the fact that 20 tradesmen die in the UK every week from asbestos-related diseases.

Colette Willoughby, the principal examiner for asbestos at the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), said asbestos is an issue for everyone – adding that tens of millions of tons of the mineral still remains in UK buildings. In fact, an estimated half a million UK buildings still contain asbestos, despite its use being banned in 1999.

She went on to say that managing asbestos doesn’t have to be complicated for businesses and can be done by following three steps: establishing if any is present in buildings; if there is, identifying the risks it presents; putting measures in place to manage those risks.

She added: “It does sound simple, but it is crucial that people acting on those steps have the required knowledge.”

IOSH has created free resources to help businesses ensure that their employees are not putting their futures at risk. They can be accessed at the campaign website at www.notimetolose.org.uk