5,000 cases of cancer a year linked to the workplace

Thousands of Australians could be exposed to cancer risks in their workplace, Cancer Council has warned.

According to the latest data, about 5000 cases of cancer nationally every year are linked to workplace carcinogens, with an estimated 3.6 million Australians exposed to cancer-causing agents at work.

Farmers, drivers, miners and transport workers at highest risk, prompting Cancer Council to release new resources to help Australians reduce their risks of cancer at work.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan called for increased cancer awareness in the workplace.

“These figures warrant a workplace health and safety check-up by both employers and employees,” Ms McMillan said.

“Many cases of workplace-related cancers are caused by of 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.

“Cancer Council has today launched Occupational Cancer Risk factsheets focused on various occupational carcinogens, designed for both employers and employees.

“The factsheets provide vital information about workplace cancer risks, how Queenslanders can control them, legal obligations, and where Queenslanders can go for more information.

“If employees are concerned about possible cancer-causing agents in the workplace, we invite them to contact Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.”

The Occupational Cancer Risk factsheets, focused on UV, diesel, asbestos, second-hand smoke and welding, are part of a suite of resources launched today on Cancer Council Queensland’s website.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171