BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, has confirmed a first class panel of speakers to deliver the prestigious 2016 Warner Lecture, and other keynote presentations at Occupational Hygiene 2016, the Society’s flagship conference, set to take place at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow from 25 to 28 April 2016.

The annual event will, as is customary, commence with the influential Warner Lecture, once again sponsored by Shell and delivered this year by the eminent occupational and environmental lung disease expert Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor. Sir Anthony is the President’s Envoy for Health at Imperial College London and also chairs the new Workplace Health Expert Committee recently set up by the Health and Safety Executive.

Other keynote speakers will include:

  • Danny Martland, Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Director at BAE Systems
  • Dr Karen Niven, Global Health Risk and Governance Manager at Shell
  • Dr Jason Williams, Consultant Dermatologist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

Together, around 85 experts will deliver an exciting three-day programme, combining inspiring and thought-provoking plenary sessions with scientific and technical sessions as well as a range of interactive workshops and case studies.

During the 2016 Warner Lecture, Sir Anthony is expected to highlight some of the very significant changes which have had important effects on worker health, in the context of occupational lung disease, in recent decades. This vitally important subject is richly deserving of attention and one which the Society and its members are working tirelessly to highlight through BOHS’s Breathe Freely campaign to prevent occupational lung disease in the construction sector.

On a cautionary note, he will also explain how, all too often health hazards in the workplace have tended to re-emerge over a period of time, albeit in a somewhat different manner.

Commenting on this phenomenon, Sir Anthony offered the example of silica in the workplace, noting, “Often, we find ourselves facing the same hazard but in a different guise. If we look at silica, the general view is that silicosis is a disease of the 19th Century and early 20th Century.  In fact, we are still seeing quite a number of cases, in the UK and internationally.  In recent decades silica has also been shown to be a cause of lung cancer.  We now face the question of lung cancer in relation to silica – so with the same hazard the nature of the problem changes but the issue remains all the same”.

Despite the evolutionary nature of work-related health hazards, Sir Anthony says there are many positive developments currently to be seen in the prevention of occupational ill-health.  However new developments can also be the cause of new hazards.

Sir Anthony said, “For example, the reformulation of a textile dye was the cause of an outbreak of organising pneumonia, with a number of deaths, in Valencia, Spain, and there remains the important question of the carcinogenicity of nanotubules”.

Delegates to the conference will be warmly welcomed Dr Adrian Hirst, President of BOHS, and Steve Perkins, the Society’s CEO.

Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Adrian Hirst said, “This year’s annual conference offers a stellar line-up of experts who are in a position to offer a wide range of perspectives on the key concerns in worker health protection and the prevention of occupational ill-health and disease. The diverse backgrounds of the presenters, who are drawn from commerce and industry, occupational health, academia and the regulatory sphere, will no doubt offer delegates invaluable fresh insights into the challenges they face in their own work each day.”

Steve Perkins added, “It is impossible to achieve real success in any field without effective teamwork, networks, partnerships and relationships. Occupational Hygiene 2016 will bring together researchers, practitioners, regulators and other experts from around the world to discuss the very latest issues currently affecting health at work. If we are serious about tackling the unacceptable burden of occupational mortality and ill health, both in Britain and globally, we will need to work together and Occupational Hygiene 2016 offers the perfect forum to facilitate this important process”.

Further information about OH2016, including opportunities to sponsor and exhibit, can be accessed at http://www.oh-2016.com/. The early bird rate for registration ends on 26th February.

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