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IOSH No Time to Lose campaign – Silica phase

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IOSH No Time to Lose campaign – Silica phase

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IOSH No Time to Lose campaign – Silica phase


The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) No Time to Lose campaign helps employers and employees prevent work-related carcinogenic exposures which lead to at least 742,000 cancer deaths globally every year.


Silica dust harms millions of workers worldwide. The carcinogen is created when breaking down and releasing ‘crystalline silica’ in materials like stone, mortar or tiles during drilling, sawing, cutting and sanding.


Every year, breathing in silica dust at work causes around 7,000 new cases of lung cancer in the EU and nearly 800 lung-cancer deaths in Britain.


As a charity and the world’s leading occupational-safety-and-health professional body, IOSH took a global approach to the Silica Phase of its No Time to Lose (NTTL) campaign from November 2016 to March 2018, aiming to:

  1. get organisations to introduce policies and practices to manage workplace risks associated with silica dust
  2. raise awareness and share knowledge across industry sectors and supply chains internationally
  3. encourage businesses to support the campaign and pledge to implement exposure-prevention measures through responsible procurement, design, manufacture and supply


Rationale behind campaign, including research and planning:


IOSH’s data-gathering and research uncovered risks and identified solutions for managing workplace silica exposures.


An IOSH membership survey gauged knowledge and understanding of occupational cancer; 80% felt industry was not doing enough to improve occupational health. Barriers included lack of awareness and education, and poor resources.


IOSH surveyed 618 members in its Construction Group (a high-risk sector) for insights into issues with managing silica. Responses revealed low priority given by companies, and poor risk-awareness among workers.


A ‘Silica-dust virtual focus group’ gathered 12 influential professionals from construction, rail, public services and the mineral products sector to highlight main barriers to effective silica-exposure control, including lack of knowledge and action across industry sectors.


These consultations recommended the types of communication and information resources IOSH should develop to educate managers and workers on how to control exposure.


Strategy and tactics, including creativity and innovation:


Roundtable discussion with global organisations


In November 2016, trade and health bodies, researchers, regulators and construction, rail and mineral product firms met for a roundtable discussion, agreeing a 12-month silica action plan.


Organisations including the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) and Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore took part.


They made a commitment to raise awareness of and take preventative action against work-related silica-dust exposures, setting a follow-up meeting for November 2017 to assess progress made.


In November 2017 they shared how they had tackled silica dust, including designing out risks at the start of a project and educating their workforces through e-learning and videos.


Campaign roadshow and free alternative-language resources


IOSH organised roadshow events throughout the UK and internationally requested by campaign supporters and pledge signatories where expert speakers delivered presentations on how to control silica-dust exposure.


Collaboration was key to the campaign’s success so we worked with a supporter organisations. IOSH knew it was vital to adopt creative, tailored approaches producing accessible resources in different languages to tackle silica dust. These had to reach employers and employees most directly affected ‘on the ground’.


Resources included:

- workplace posters

- photography showing control measures and equipment

- a portfolio of digital collateral for supporters to integrate in their own materials

- a leaflet for employees covering risks and protection measures

- a fold-out pocket card for operatives reminding them of risks and controls

- literature to support a presentation or briefing session

- case studies sharing good-practice tips and experiences

- a link to our online mythbuster quiz

- signpost links to a range of other free tools and resources


Dedicated web pages directed traffic to translated resources, e.g. We spread the message widely using social media and infographics.


To promote roadshow events in different countries and engage their media, we distributed news releases translated by NTTL’s supporting organisations.


International good-practice case studies


We developed good-practice case studies with international NTTL-supporter organisations pledged to implement controls preventing silica-dust exposure. These included multinational transport giant MTR Corporation Ltd in Hong Kong, the EU’s Roadmap on Carcinogens, Society of Safety Engineers Ljubljana, and Center for Safety and Health at Work in Bulgaria.


Implementation of tactics:


Throughout 2017, IOSH’s multimedia campaign used engaging formats including video and infographics and channels including social media, newsletters, earned media and events to reach international audiences and deliver practical solutions that manage silica dust at work.

IOSH organised six national workshops across the Balkans (in Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, and Montenego) presenting solutions to tackle silica and other carcinogens.


We adapted and translated NTTL silica-dust resources for the Center for Safety and Health at Work in Bulgaria (13 branch events) and with the Society of Safety Engineers Ljubljana for one in Slovenia. A ‘train-the-trainer’ conference in Hong Kong provided Mandarin Chinese resources for the entire MTR Corporation supply chain. We presented at ‘EPICOH’ an international conference of health professionals in Edinburgh.


For the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, No Time to Lose was showcased exclusively, by invitation, at the ‘Final Conference of the Joint Action on Comprehensive Cancer Control’ in Malta.


Measurement and evaluation:


  1. By October 2017, IOSH had recorded:
  • nearly 25,000 downloads of digital silica-resource packs
  • 580 printed packs ordered via the website
  • 1,400 packs distributed at events
  • 333,400 social media impressions
  • media coverage reaching an estimated 22 million people


  1. In October 2017, IOSH surveyed all 36 NTTL pledge signatories who had committed to managing silica-dust exposures at work. This revealed that every participant had found the NTTL silica-dust resources helpful in managing silica-dust exposure, the majority using them as part of employee-training packages. Some participants were eliminating risks completely by removing or substituting silica-containing materials and considering mechanisms for controlling dust at source.


  1. Progress reports on initiatives to manage silica dust presented by IOSH and partner organisations on the anniversary of the campaign launch included:
  • new research revealing that around 48,000 deaths worldwide every year are caused by silica-dust exposure at work
  • a health-surveillance chest x-ray programme collecting over 2,000 chest x-rays of workers
  • a new course to manage silica dust, targeting site supervisors
  • control measures that deliver aggregates in healthier ways and damp down dust


  1. By December 2017, IOSH had raised awareness of silica dust at over 50 events globally.



Over the last five years, IOSH has launched four phases of its No Time to Lose campaign and has provided free practical resources to help businesses tackle serious carcinogens including diesel engine exhaust emissions, solar radiation, silica dust and asbestos.

Since the campaign was launched in 2014, around 120,000 resources have been downloaded from the website, 23,000 campaign packs have been distributed to businesses and occupational safety and health professionals, and campaign messages published by the media have reached an audience of over 83 million.



More than 380 organisations from 40 countries are supporting the campaign have agreed to raise awareness of occupational cancer, 130 leading businesses have signed up to the pledge to manage carcinogens in the workplace, and No Time to Lose ambassadors have presented the campaign at more than 250 events worldwide to around 18,000 delegates.

To find out more about No Time to Lose campaign and to get involved, visit To keep up to date with the latest campaign news, follow @_NTTL on Twitter.


Dear Sir/Madam,

This application is to submit the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) ‘No Time to Lose campaign – silica phase’ as an entry for the International Media Festival for Prevention.

If you have any questions or need further information, please email me at or phone on +44 (0)116 257 3258.

Kind regards,

Jasmeen Daji

Campaigns Communications Co-ordinator, IOSH



IOSH No Time to Lose campaign – Silica phase links:

Target Group



IOSH No Time to Lose campaign - working together to beat occupational cancer


The Silica phase of IOSH's No Time to Lose campaign won the CIPR Mark of Excellence Award 2018 in the Best International Campaign category

Contact details Editor / Production company

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
The Grange - Highfield Drive, Wigston , gb-LE18 1NN Leicestershire
+44 (0)116 257 3258