A “quick and easy” guide to cancer prevention in the workplace has been published by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), a scientific research organization funded by Quebec’s workplace compensation board, the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST).
The brochure, Are there carcinogens in your workplace? It's time to act!, is intended for occupational health and safety officers, employers and workers. The Canadian Cancer Society, which is dedicated to prevention, has welcomed its publication, according to the IRSST.
The brochure, based on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge available, helps identify carcinogens in the workplace, provides examples of preventive measures and best practices for controlling exposure, and proposes a model action plan for eliminating or reducing exposure.
"The CSST currently compensates more cases of death due to cancer than to workplace accidents. Scientific estimates indicate that between three per cent and 10 per cent of all new cases of cancer are due to workplace exposure," said IRSST epidemiologist France Labrèche, who also served as the brochure’s lead author.
A summary sheet specifically for workers will also be available to encourage them to adopt best practices and reduce their risk of exposure.
"New products and processes enter the workplace every day and just because they're on the market, it doesn't mean they're all safe,” said Labrèche. “We have to consider first whether the products, materials and processes we use and the work environment expose us to carcinogens, and do all we can to mitigate, or even eliminate, exposure, but we also have to remain vigilant and review preventive measures regularly."
Researchers estimate that Quebec will see between 1,500 and 4,900 new cases of occupational cancer in 2013 resulting from exposure decades ago, the IRSST said.
Download the guide here.