Hong Kong's MTR backs worldwide occupational health awareness campaign

13 October 2015

Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation has pledged support to a worldwide campaign raising awareness of how to prevent a harmful occupational disease.

NTTL Certificate presentation Hong Kong

MTR  has vowed to “embrace our obligation” to care for the health and wellbeing of its staff and contractors after signing up to No Time to Lose, a campaign being run by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

Through the initiative, IOSH is raising awareness and offering practical advice to help businesses protect their workers from occupational cancer, with a specific focus on five common work-related risk factors - diesel engine exhaust emissions, solar radiation, asbestos, silica dust and shift work.

An estimated 666,000 people die each year worldwide from work-related cancers. Latest available figures from the Workplace Safety and Health Institute also state that around 200,000 people in the Western Pacific Region died from occupational cancer in 2011.

MTR has joined a growing number of large corporations across the world in formally committing to do their bit to tackle the issue by signing up to No Time to Lose.

Dr Philco Wong, Projects Director at MTR Corporation Ltd, said: “We are committed to supporting No Time to Lose. We embrace our obligation to ‘care for life’s journeys’ and commit to doing even more to minimise exposure to, and raise awareness of, occupational health issues highlighted in this campaign.”

The pledge builds on MTR’s efforts to promote a healthy and safe working environment for workers working on new railway construction projects. This year it has already run health awareness campaigns on hygiene, heat stroke prevention, healthy lifestyles and agent contamination prevention.

The current health and safety campaign of MTR is focusing on No Time to Lose. As part of this, MTR held an event today (Tuesday 13 October) where around 140 safety managers from its contractors were trained on how to manage and prevent harmful exposures in the workplace.

MTR’s Safety Conference in January 2016 will also highlight safety and health practices related to this topic for industry safety practitioners and contractors.

Dr Wong said: “We will continue to provide on-site health screening, education and the top-quality equipment to workers to improve health and safety conditions for workers. We have already taken actions by providing 15,000 neck shields to construction workers hired by our contractors against excessive sun exposure and conducting over 2,000 health screenings for the workers.”

IOSH is the Chartered body for health and safety professionals and has more than 44,000 members in 120 countries, including Hong Kong.

Shelley Frost, Executive Director – Policy at IOSH, said: “We are delighted that MTR has committed to No Time to Lose. Forward-thinking businesses regardless of their size, sector or location worldwide, are recognising the importance of tackling this significant occupational health issue.

“Many occupational cancers are predictable and preventable. Small changes in how work is managed or carried out can make a big difference in exposure levels and the resulting risk of getting cancer.

“Together we can take action again occupational cancers – there really is no time to lose.”

More details about No Time to Lose can be found at www.notimetolose.org.uk, and via @_NTTL on Twitter.

Image: IOSH Vice President Andy Lo (right) presents Steve Howarth, Head of Projects Safety at MTR Corporation with a certificate to mark its pledge to the No Time to Lose campaign.