23 Aug 2018

Vision Zero steps up the fight against occupational cancer


Every minute someone dies from work-related cancer. Vision Zero commits to help reduce the burden of occupational cancer on humanity worldwide.

The Vision Zero campaign today counts the support of well over 2000 companies, organizations and occupational safety and health trainers. The International Social Security Association has called on the campaign partners to join the fight against occupational cancer, which is one of the heaviest burdens of workers and societies today.

The number of deaths from occupational cancer far exceeds the number of deaths due to workplace accidents. Globally, 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year and its annual economic cost was estimated at 1.16 trillion in 2010. Between 8 and 16% of all cancers are the result of exposures at work. An estimation of 742,000 death due to work-related cancer every year – that’s 1 death every 43 seconds. These facts were presented at 32nd International Congress on Occupational Health in Dublin (ICOH) in May 2018, at which a statement to strengthen international efforts was approved by participants. 

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has launched the campaign www.notimetolose.org.uk, dedicated to occupational cancers. It includes real life stories, resources on asbestos silica dust, solar radiation and diesel exhaust emissions. The European Commission has also launched a new initiative to improve health and safety of workers and pledged to set exposure limits to cancer causing chemicals, hoping that this will set a clear objective for employers and enforcement authorities to avoid exposure.

Together with the European Commission and IOSH, Vision Zero joins the call of the ICOH to put in every effort possible to reduce the number of occupational cancers at the workplace as part of our global initiative to improve safety, health and wellbeing.  An overview of the topic on occupational cancer can be found in the fact sheet.