STOP: basic rules

Each year, approximately 100,000 European workers lose their lives to cancer, making it the leading cause of death. The main factor behind this grim statistic is exposure to cancer-causing agents. To put an end to this, it is crucial to prevent workers from getting into contact with hazardous substances. STOP keeps you safe.

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There are some basic rules that apply whenever carcinogenic substances are used in the workplace. Rules everyone should take into account, regardless of the job position one find themselves in.


  1. Don’t drink, eat or smoke while you might be contaminated with carcinogenic substances as this increases your intake on carcinogens.
  2. Wash yourself
    o Especially hands and face
    o Shower after work
    o Don’t take dirty or contaminated clothes home as it will contaminate your family
  3. Clean workplaces
    o The less stuff which can harm you is around, the less you will be harmed
    o Don’t blow off substances. This practice will result in higher concentrations and thus higher danger


Every employer dealing with carcinogenic substances should ask these questions in the following order:

  1. Can carcinogenic substances be replaced with non-carcinogenic? Substitution is always the first measure to consider.
    If not:
  2. Can the process be secured, so no one will be exposed? These technical measures, from closed systems to efficient air suction, drastically reduce exposure to carcinogens. These automated methods ensure safety for everyone.
    If not:
  3. Can the process be in an enclosed area which will cause less people to be exposed? Organisational measures, such as closing doors and seal lids, and maintaining a clean workspace. Ensure everyone cleans up before eating, drinking, or smoking. These organisational measures significantly reduce exposure to carcinogenic substances.
    Note: ensure extra protection for youth and pregnant women.
    Note: not everybody has to stay in the contaminated continuously
  4. Can the concentration of the carcinogenic substance be reduced?
    Note: e.g. If the substance can be reduced through extraction, ensure sufficient ventilation possibilities and check whether the ventilation is up to the task.
  5. Is the right personal protection equipment provided to the employees? 
Note: Personal Protective Equipment is the last resort in the occupational hygiene strategy and should not function as the first measure, as it is the most failproof.
  6. Is everyone in the area informed about the dangerous substances which are present?
    Note: cleaning personnel, contract workers, maintenance- and waste disposal personnel are often overlooked.
  7. Are employees encourages to ensure a clean workplace and high personal hygiene?
    • Is information about the carcinogenic substances and prevention measures available to your employees?
    • Is there information on how to clean contaminated clothes?
    • Are cleaning schedules in place and do people have access to the right cleaning equipment?
    • Are there facilities for washing up or taking a shower?
    • Is there a non-contaminated area for breaks, and to eat and/or drink?
STOP keeps you safe!
STOP keeps you safe!
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