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Grant awarded to educate workforce on dangerous carcinogens

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Slater and Gordon has awarded Cancer Council WA a $25,000 grant to create educational videos aimed at preventing workplace-related cancers caused by diesel engine exhaust (DEE), welding fume and asbestos. 

The grant is part of the 2017 round of the Health Projects and Research Fund, a philanthropic grants initiative which focuses on improving care and treatment for people with asbestos-related illnesses, occupation caused cancers or with significant disability caused by a catastrophic injury.

The three five-minute videos will highlight how and where carcinogens are found in the workplace, who is at risk, preventative measures, the rights of an employee and the obligations of their employer.

They will be promoted to all industries where research has identified exposure, including farmers, heavy transport operators, miners, carpenters, metal workers and mechanics.

Slater and Gordon Practice Group Leader Western Australia Joel Schneider said the law firm was proud to be able to contribute to a project focused on saving and protecting lives through education across Australian workplaces.

“Slater and Gordon believes it is important to support initiatives such as this to help prevent and protect people from being put in harm’s way,” Mr Schneider said.

“We believe these videos will help educate the workforce about the very real dangers associated with these exposures.”

Cancer Council Australia’s Occupational and Environmental Cancer Committee Chair Terry Slevin said DEE, welding fume and asbestos were specifically chosen because of the associated risk and exposure to carcinogens.

He said there was currently very little promoted or accessible information and resources relevant for Australian workers at high risk of exposure to carcinogens in the workplace.

“Ultimately, we hope these videos will contribute to reducing exposure to carcinogens in Australian workplaces and reduce the risk of occupational cancer,” Mr Slevin said. 

“Awareness of the risks of exposures like asbestos and UV radiation is increasing, and is reflected in gradual improvements in work safety practices.

“By contrast, awareness of the hazards of exposure to diesel engine exhaust and welding fume is low, especially in relation to the potential harms.

“The Slater and Gordon grant comes at an important time. The resources Cancer Council WA will be able to develop in relation to DEE, welding fume and asbestos through this grant will help employers and employees nationally better understand workplace cancer risk and the measures.”

A study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, has shown an estimated 3.6 million Australians are exposed to cancer-causing agents at work, with around 5,000 cancer cases diagnosed each year.