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What governments and employers should do to protect workers

The Canadian Cancer Society strongly believes that Canadian workers should not be exposed to carcinogens in the workplace. When exposure cannot be eliminated, it should be reduced to the lowest possible level. We believe this is not just the responsibility of workers. Governments and employers must do their part.

To protect workers, governments must ensure that workplace regulations and legislation are based on the best available evidence. Workers must continue to have the right to refuse work that exposes them to known and highly suspected carcinogens.

manager and employee reviewing documentsEmployers must let workers know if they are being exposed to carcinogens at work. Workers exposed to carcinogens must be offered education and training programs on how to reduce their risk.

Employers must make sure that products are labelled and that each product has a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that workers can easily find and use.

Employers must eliminate or reduce exposure to carcinogens by removing them or by using a different substance.

Employers must set up processes and make changes to the workplace so that workers’ exposure to carcinogens is minimized. Using personal protective clothing or equipment should only be a last option.