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HSE hosts idea sharing event on occupational disease

13 March 2013

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is bringing together a range of people to share their thoughts on how to make a bigger impact in tackling occupational disease.

It is hosting an event (Thursday 14 March) to enable delegates to consider effective ways to reduce the instances of work-related cancer and respiratory diseases.

Around 450,000 new cases of occupational-related ill-health are reported annually, with past exposures to harmful substances responsible for an estimated 12,000 or more premature deaths each year.

HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, will open "Tackling Occupational Disease – Developing New Approaches" before delegates get together in break out sessions to share knowledge and ideas.

"We often focus on what has been achieved in reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries in Britain’s workplaces year on year, but every year these figures are dwarfed by the number of people who die prematurely from occupational disease as a result of exposure to harmful substances and conditions at work.

"The scale of the challenge and some of the complicating factors can make the challenge of addressing occupational disease seem daunting, but there are some examples of activities that have made a real difference. It takes a variety of interventions from supply chain working to improve equipment, new guidance to raise awareness and change working methods and sharing of good practice among businesses to bring about change. It takes action now to change the legacy of occupational disease for years to come.

"The purpose of this event is to get people actively sharing ideas as the first step in the challenge. It requires industry, occupational health professionals, trade associations, unions, training bodies and the regulator to work together to make real inroads in tackling the causes of occupational disease."

Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, a specialist in occupational and environmental causes of lung disease and current Principal of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College will also be speaking – addressing delegates on "The Continuing Challenge of Occupational Diseases", before leading one of the sessions.

The working sessions are intended to lead to a post-event paper which will put recommendations for the proposed way forward to HSE Board later in the year.

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

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