Cancer, Women and Work – Checklist for Reps

• Ensure your employer is complying with health and safety legislation – for example carrying out risk assessments, controlling (and preferably preventing) exposure to hazardous substances, substituting hazardous substances with safer alternatives and consulting workers.

• Negotiate a Cancer Prevention and Screening Policy for all workers. To see examples of what this should include click here.

• Negotiate improvements to occupational health provision. A good OH department should be concerned about preventing injuries and ill- health. This could include providing workplace-based NHS screening facilities and counselling for workers having screening or who have been diagnosed with a problem. The process must of course be confidential and the results of any screening should not be detrimental to job/career prospects.

• Ask your employer to help raise awareness about cancer and cancer screening, and encourage health promotion in the workplace.

• Negotiate improvements to workplace welfare facilities. Cancer often has multiple causes and improvements in workplace conditions will help prevention. Examples could be:

  • providing healthy eating options in the staff canteen 64
  • ensuring a smoke free environment
  • providing paid time for workers to attend smoking cessation programmes
  • reducing stress at work
  • carrying out risk assessments and implementing them in relation to shift working
  • introducing flexible working
  • negotiate schedules (eg for drivers) that allow for adequate breaks and access to canteen and other facilities at all times. 

• campaign for improved NHS screening services for women and men – lobby your MP, the Secretary of State for Health, your local Health Authority and local councillors

• promote health awareness through your Branch – invite a speaker on women’s health

Women’s Health and Safety at Work Toolkit

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