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Occupational Disease Initiative

The Occupational Disease Initiative for 2021–2023 uses a risk-based approach to proactively identify, prioritize, and address the occupational diseases of greatest risk to workers across B.C. This three-year plan focuses on four categories of disease and seven primary risk exposures:

  • Cancer (asbestos, silica, solar radiation, welding fumes)
  • Asthma (sensitizers)
  • Poisoning (lead)
  • Hearing loss (noise exposure)

Our goals

The primary goal of the 2021–2023 Occupational Disease Initiative is to reduce the incidence of four specific disease outcomes (cancer, asthma, poisoning, and hearing loss) by engaging employers to reduce exposures to seven primary risks: asbestos, silica, welding fumes, solar radiation, sensitizers, lead, and noise.

Our focus

In order to reduce exposures and the associated disease outcomes, the initiative will have these four main areas of focus:

  • Increase industry awareness at both the industry and job-task level: Workers and employers often do not fully understand the risk exposure or health effects from these exposures. Those who fully understand the risks are more likely to take steps to reduce exposure.
  • Develop and utilize new and existing resources: Ensure that officers fully understand the risks and have the tools to explain them so they are in the best position to help employers and workers reduce exposure.
    We will produce resources for workers and employers to clarify the risks, hazards, and controls that are most relevant at their workplace. This helps employers identify and take responsibility for the risks and manage the hazards they create.
  • Targeted inspection programs that focus enforcement activity on the employers with the highest risk exposures: Silica and noise inspections will be conducted in the industries and CUs that have significant worker exposure. Our regional teams will conduct inspections in the subsectors and CUs that have the most significant risks.
  • Effective partnerships:  By targeting diseases instead of limiting the scope to risks within specific industries, we can partner with external organizations that focus on those same diseases. This allows us to conduct research, build greater capacity and communicate across multiple industries where the operations and job activities might differ, but where the same disease outcomes exist.

What you can do

The following web pages include resources that will help you better understand and address some of the health and safety issues we’ll be focusing on with our inspections and initiatives.