Thousands of Australians are being exposed to cancer risks in their workplace, and Cancer Council Queensland says it’s time to wise up to the danger.
An estimated 3.6 million Australians are exposed to cancer-causing agents at work, resulting in 5,000 cases of cancer each year being linked to workplace carcinogens.
Farmers, drivers, miners and transport workers are at highest risk, leading Cancer Council Queensland to call for increased cancer awareness in the workplace.
“These figures warrant a workplace health and safety check-up by both employers and employees,” Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan says.
“Many causes of workplace-related cancers are caused by common carcinogens such as ultraviolet radiation, diesel engine exhaust, environmental tobacco smoke, and benzene.
“It’s critical that employers and employees are aware of all cancer-causing hazards and behaviours in the workplace. The most common workplace-related cancers in Australia include mesothelioma, bronchus and lung cancer, nose and nasal sinus cancer, leukaemia and cervical cancer.
“Putting in place control measures for carcinogenic hazards is the only way to reduce cancer risk at work. Employers and employees must be informed, and always follow the outlined safe work practices at their workplace to reduce their risk.”
To that end, Cancer Council has launched Occupational Cancer Risk fact sheets on occupational carcinogens, designed for both employers and employees.
“The fact sheets provide vital information about workplace cancer risks, how Queenslanders can control them, legal obligations, and where Queenslanders can go for more information,” Ms McMillan says.
“If employees are concerned about possible cancer-causing agents in the workplace, we invite them to contact Cancer Council on 13 11 20.”
The new Occupational Cancer Risk fact sheets, focused on UV, diesel, asbestos, second-hand smoke and welding, can be found at cancerqld.org.au.