Workers Health & Safety Centre

Occupational cancer specialist to deliver annual Nachemson lecture

Dr. Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, will give this year’s Nachemson lecture hosted by the Institute for Work & Health.

This year’s lecture will focus on challenges to occupational disease prevention through a discussion of: the role of research in establishing causal relationships between workplace exposures and disease; building scientific consensus on disease causation; and estimating occupational disease burden.

Demers, a senior scientist at Cancer Care Ontario (where the OCRC is based), is also a professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and a clinical professor with the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. An internationally recognized authority on the epidemiology of occupational cancers, Demers also sits on several working groups at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, including those which evaluated carcinogens such as dusts and fibres, firefighting and formaldehyde.

For more than a decade, compensated occupational disease deaths have outnumbered traumatic fatalities. Many now agree, only a bold occupational disease prevention plan for Ontario will stem this unnecessary suffering.

WHAT:    Preventing occupational disease: Moving the agenda forward
WHEN:    Wednesday, November 28, 2018
   Design Exchange, 2nd Floor
   234 Bay Street, Toronto, ON
   Doors open 4:30 p.m., lecture 5:00 p.m., reception 6:00 p.m.
WHO:    Workplace health, safety and representatives, compensation
   advocates, employers, policy-makers, researchers.

This event is free, and open to the public. Registration deadline is Monday, November 26, 2018. Register for the 2018 Nachemson lecture

In 2017, Cancer Care Ontario and the OCRC released their jointly produced report, Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario: Major workplace carcinogens and prevention of exposure. For the report authors and many others, it offers a “tremendous opportunity” to support decision-makers in developing a robust occupational cancer prevention plan for Ontario.

The report also recognizes the importance of involving workers and their representatives in workplace prevention efforts, specifically in the development of toxic use reduction plans. Additionally, it acknowledges the importance of a training standard for the workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS). Such a standard would help ensure workers receive consistent, high-quality training so critical to the prevention of hazardous exposures, including exposures to carcinogens. Worker advocates have long called for such reform.

Further, the report adopts a hierarchy of controls framework to examine exposure reduction. This approach prioritizes more protective controls, like elimination and substitution, over less effective controls such as personal protective equipment.

Related resources:
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The Workers Health & Safety Centre assists all workplace parties with training programs and information services aimed at raising awareness about hazardous exposures, including those which can contribute to the occupational diseases, and targeting prevention at the workplace level.

To learn more: 
Call:   1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak with a training services representative