Businesses and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are being called on to clamp down on workplace exposures to carcinogens in a bid to head off an increasing occupational cancer burden.

In a joint statement that marked Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April, the occupational hygienists’ body BOHS and the TUC urged employers to comply with legal exposure limits for known carcinogens, which are currently responsible for around 8,000 deaths and 13,500 new cancers each year.

HSE, which has come in for criticism from both BOHS and the TUC over how it tackles occupational disease, faces calls to be “robust in its enforcement of the law” in light of estimates from epidemiologist Dr Lesley Rushton that occupational cancer deaths will reach 13,000 a year by 2060 if no action is taken.

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