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By Professor Martin Green
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Solar radiation and occupational cancers highlighted at IOSH Hong Kong conference

Institution of Occup | Institution of Occupational Safety and Health

3 min read Partner content

The positive steps that businesses across Asia are taking to protect outdoor workers from prolonged exposure to solar radiation have been highlighted during a conference in Hong Kong.

Delegates at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health Hong Kong’s (IOSH) annual conference today (Friday 24 April) discussed the issue, and others related to managing occupational health in the workplace.

It came a day after IOSH in the UK launched new research and information which highlighted the link between workers being exposed to solar radiation at work and skin cancer. Among the findings was an examination of skin cancer registrations by profession which found construction workers to be among those workers most at risk.

IOSH President Ian Harper addressed the conference about IOSH’s research and the lessons companies across the world could learn from the work being done in Asia to limit construction workers’ contact with the sun’s UV rays.

Ian said: “In Hong Kong and Singapore the culture is to take a more respectful view of the sun. Companies have long since worked out there is an issue to be dealt with it comes to working in the sun.

“There is a lot that responsible businesses in Hong Kong and across Asia are doing to tackle the issue of solar radiation that companies elsewhere in the world can learn from - such as wider brim head wear and neck covers and proper cooled refuges from the sun.

“It would be great to concentrate the same amount of effort and success into other areas such as control of diesel fumes and silica dusts.”

Across the world, it is estimated that 666,000 people die every year from a work-related cancer – equal to one death every 47 seconds.

IOSH is raising awareness and offering practical advice to help businesses protect their workers from exposure to carcinogens while at work through its No Time to Lose campaign.

As well as solar radiation, No Time to Lose is also highlighting other common causes of occupational cancer registrations and deaths, including diesel engine exhaust emissions, asbestos, silica dust and shift work.

The conference, which took place at The Salisbury YMCA of Hong Kong, also included discussions around the promotion of occupational health in the workplace, stress management in the construction industry and the use of infection control technologies to enhance occupational and environmental health.

Speeches and presentations were provided by experts from the Occupational Safety Health Council, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Hong Kong and the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board.

Wai Yin Wong, chair of IOSH Hong Kong Branch, said: “Occupational cancer is quite a green area to the industrial sectors of Hong Kong.

“The conference aimed to draw the attention of the Hong Kong industrial sectors, and the community at large, to the potential risks, causes, and devastating effects of occupational cancer.”

For more details about IOSH’s No Time to Lose visit, or follow @_NTTL on Twitter.


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