Cam­paign to cut work­place can­cer high­lighted at Caribbean safety and health meet­ing

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Safety and health pro­fes­sion­als in the Caribbean are back­ing a cam­paign to cut the rates of work-re­lated can­cer.

The Caribbean Branch of the Institution of Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health (IOSH) heard about the ‘No Time to Lose’ cam­paign which is urg­ing busi­nesses to do their part to pre­vent staff from con­tract­ing can­cer.

Dur­ing the meet­ing it was said that in Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean more than 31,000 peo­ple die each year from can­cer caused by work.

Mean­while up to four per cent of all can­cers di­ag­nosed in the re­gion – and eight per cent of lung can­cers – are caused by work. Work-re­lated ma­lig­nant mesothe­lioma claims the lives of around 2,000 peo­ple each year.

Among the causes are ex­po­sure to as­bestos and sil­ica dust as well as work­ing in the


Navin Ra­goo and Shazam Edoo, Vice-Chair and Trea­surer of the IOSH Caribbean Branch re­spec­tively, gave the pre­sen­ta­tion on the drive.

Af­ter the meet­ing, Navin said: “There is rightly a lot of fo­cus on pre­vent­ing work­place ac­ci­dents such as falls from height. How­ever, it is equally im­por­tant that busi­nesses en­sure that the health of their staff is pro­tected.

“One of the ma­jor causes of work-re­lated deaths in this re­gion and other parts of the world is can­cer. Of­ten those who are ex­posed to car­cino­gens do not show any symp­toms un­til many years af­ter.

“The ‘No Time to Lose’ cam­paign is look­ing to re­duce the amount of peo­ple who suf­fer from this aw­ful dis­ease as a re­sult of go­ing about their daily busi­ness.”

Over 60 firms across the world have made a pledge to the cam­paign, which was launched by IOSH a year ago. By do­ing so they agree to as­sess whether work ac­tiv­i­ties that staff per­form have the po­ten­tial to cause can­cer and, if so, to de­velop a preven­tion strat­egy. Mean­while more than 110 firms have en­dorsed the drive.

Across the world, 666,000 peo­ple die from work-re­lated can­cer each year – one death ev­ery 47 sec­onds.

The meet­ing was held at the Court­yard by Mar­riott ho­tel in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on Fri­day 4th De­cem­ber.

Among other top­ics be­ing dis­cussed were the pro­posed world­wide safety and health stan­dard ISO 45001 which will re­place BS OHSAS 18001 and aims to pre­vent in­jury and ill health and cut the es­ti­mated world­wide an­nual toll of more than 2.3 mil­lion work-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties.

Dr Ralph Gon­salves will serve as prime min­is­ter of St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines af­ter lead­ing his Unity Labour Party (ULP) to a fourth con­sec­u­tive elec­tion vic­tory.

But pre­dic­tions of a land­slide vic­tory in Wed­nes­day’s elec­tion did not come to pass. The ULP won with the same one-seat ma­jor­ity it took in the last elec­tion, with eight of the seats in the 15-seat Par­lia­ment. The other seven went to the main op­po­si­tion New Demo­cratic Party (NDP) led by Arn­him Eus­tace.

Both party lead­ers won their seats, along with Gon­salves’ son, Camillo Gon­salves, who con­tested an elec­tion for the first time and de­feated the NDP’s Lin­ton Lewis who is the op­po­si­tion party’s chair­man. He got 3,124 votes to Lewis’ 2,521 votes in the East St. Ge­orge con­stituency.

How­ever, the ULP has called for a re­count in two con­stituen­cies won by the NDP – North Lee­ward and South Lee­ward.

In South Lee­ward, the NDP’s Nigel Stephenson kept his seat, win­ning 119 votes more than the ULP’s Jomo Thomas who se­cured 2,619 votes; while in North Lee­ward, the NDP’s Roland Matthews got 2,259 votes, beat­ing new­comer Car­los James of the ULP by just 7 votes.

“We are look­ing into var­i­ous is­sues in North Lee­ward and South Lee­ward and we are also call­ing for an im­me­di­ate re­count to en­sure that all the votes are counted in those con­stituen­cies. There are more re­jected bal­lots than the mar­gin and those bal­lots should be ex­am­ined closely to de­ter­mine the in­tent of the vot­ers,” Gon­salves said.

The prime min­is­ter said he was hum­bled by the vic­tory. “I thank God for a won­der­ful vic­tory through the peo­ple of St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines. I’m hon­oured to serve you for an­other term.

“I am hum­bled and hon­oured that the peo­ple of St Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines em­braced our bold vi­sion for the fu­ture and re­jected the pol­i­tics of hate,” he said.

“We ask Vin­cen­tians to cel­e­brate this vic­tory in peace and ma­tu­rity. Now is the time to come to­gether as one na­tion to ad­dress our de­vel­op­men­tal chal­lenges and move for­ward to up­lift our na­tion and its peo­ple.”

Elec­tion Day fea­tured al­le­ga­tions of fraud, lev­elled by the NDP even be­fore the polls had closed.

The op­po­si­tion party said there were many ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in­clud­ing il­le­gal vot­ing, and two dif­fer­ent sets of vot­ers’ lists.

Also con­test­ing the elec­tion but making no real im­pact were the Demo­cratic Repub­li­can Party (DRP) and the St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines Green Party (SVGP).

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