Health Healthand andSafety Safety Executive Executive Occupational Cancer: THE biggest risk to construction workers Chris Lucas Construction Sector Health Risk Management Unit What I’ll do….. • What’s the problem ?.......... • What are HSE doing?…. What is Occupational Cancer? • Occupational cancer is caused by – Work involving direct exposure to a carcinogen – Exposure to a carcinogen produced by the work • There are 2 main types of occupational carcinogens: – Chemical – Physical • Some occupations are also linked with higher cancer rates Why the focus? • Managing health risks has tended to focus on: – The more ‘traditional’ issues: • Manual handling • Noise • Vibration • Hazardous substances – Specific occupational carcinogens: • Asbestos • Silica • Hardwood dust Why the focus? • • • HSE wanted to look at the overall numbers affected by occupational cancer Research commissioned to: – Look at how many people affected now by past exposures to occupational carcinogens – Develop a methodology for predicting the future number of people affected Research is the first to quantify in detail the GB specific picture Why the focus? • Important to note: – Research has produced best estimates – Only looked at cancer – the substances cause other ill health effects as well – Provides number of cancer: • Registrations (those getting cancer) • Death (those who died from the cancer) – Reference year was 2004 for registrations and 2005 for deaths – Dealing with diseases that develop a significant time after exposure. – Current exposures / future statistics will therefore differ Why: The shocking facts! • • • • Over 40% of occupational cancer is to construction workers – 56% when just looking at male workers More than 5,000 construction workers diagnosed with occupational cancer in 2004 More than 3,500 construction workers died from cancer in 2005 More than 50 times the number of construction workers were killed by occupational cancer compared to accidents Where are Construction workers getting Cancer? 5000 4000 Total Registrations 3000 Construction Workers 2000 1000 Lu es ng ot he lio N m as a op ha ry nx N M O SC es op ha gu s Si no na sa l St om ac h M ry nx La in Br a de r 0 Bl ad Number of Registrations 6000 Cancer Site What are causing these cancers? 4500 4000 3000 Total Registrations 2500 Construction Registrations 2000 Construction Deaths 1500 1000 500 O th er Si So lic la a rR ad ia t io n W oo d du st Pa in te rs 's PA H Le ad DE E 0 As be st os Numbers affected 3500 The causes: Asbestos • Was used in many building products: – ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings • In use up until 2000. Significant amounts remain in old buildings • • Causes lung cancer and mesothelioma Linked to very high number of deaths The causes: Silica • A natural substance found in rocks, sand and many construction products like concrete and bricks • Cutting, grinding etc creates fine silica dust that can be inhaled deep into the lungs • • Causes lung cancer Linked to very high number of deaths The causes: Solar Radiation • • UV radiation from the sun • Linked to high number of registrations but low number of deaths • • Study only looked at NMSC Causes skin cancer – Non malignant melanoma (NMSC) – Malignant melanoma Difficulty to separate work from leisure causes The causes: PAHs • • • • • Mainly from older coal tar / bitumen products All linked to working on roofs, roads and paving Cause NMSC Linked to high number of registrations but low number of deaths Newer less hazardous materials now used The causes: Diesel Engine Exhaust • A complex mix of chemicals – PAHs of particular concern • Causes lung cancer – Also linked with increased risk of bladder cancer • Linked to high number of deaths The causes: Painters • Many causes: – Substances within paints – Sanding / preparation work – Other general site exposures like silica, metals etc • Mainly linked to lung cancer – Also bladder and stomach cancer • Linked to high number of deaths The causes: Wood dust • Hardwood dust – E.g. Beech, Oak, Mahogany • Causes forms of nasal cancer: – Nasopharnyx – Sinonasal • Relatively rare Other Causes • A number of other substances also highlighted including: – Arsenic – Cobalt – Lead • • Mostly linked to lung cancer Relatively rare Other Causes • Don’t forget current / new substances / future like nanotechnology • You need to be familiar with the risks of the substances that you are using What are HSE doing….? • Current priority topics – Asbestos – Silica • • Identifying future priorities Industry Engagement Asbestos • Refurbishment and demolition work – Retail sector – Licensed asbestos removal – Small sites – Asbestos in soils RPE Guidance • • New website HSG 53 revision Silica / Dust • • Priority Inspection Topic since 2009 Very good stakeholder buy-in Silica: valley tiles • NFRC guidance • Supported by HBF, NHBC, roofing training groups • ‘Biggest change to roofing in last 30 years’ • Very good adoption by house builders / major roofers Silica: Guidance Silica: Guidance • • FAQ: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/faq-dust.htm • Forthcoming revisions – COSHH task sheets Other parts of HSE website: – LEV Silica: Videos Identifying Future Priorities • Research into current cancer risks linked to: – PAH exposure – Painters and decorators – Diesel engine exhaust emissions Industry Engagement Industry Debate: • • Talks and presentations Key stakeholders: – CONIAC Health Working Group – UKCG – Painting and Decorating Association – Others going forward Industry Engagement: Supply chains • • Paving, road and highway work Others may develop from the research IOSH Partnership work : Sun safety Industry Engagement Providing simple web based information Industry Engagement • New occupational disease website • Get involved section Thank you for listening Any questions ?
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