DLSPH researchers receive Grand Challenges Grant to address workplace hazards in India

September 8/2014

Every year, work-related disease kills more than two million people around the world – more than the number that die as a result of armed conflict or HIV/AIDs. Tens of millions of Indian workers are exposed to deadly silica dust that can cause cancer, tuberculosis and lung disease.  Exposure to workplace hazards affects children as well as adults – those who work as child labourers, go to work with their parents, or live in a home that doubles as a workplace.

Paul Bozek, Lecturer in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, and Donald Cole, Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, have received a grant from Grand Challenges Canada to address silica exposure problems among agate jewellery producers in Gujarat, India.  Bozek and Cole are working in partnership with Workplace Health Without Borders (WHWB), a Canadian non-governmental organization (NGO) and People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), an Indian NGO.

“Controlling workplace hazards in developing countries is truly a grand challenge.  Technical solutions commonly applied in the developed world may be very difficult to implement, due to lack of resources, energy and water,” explains Bozek. Through this project, the School and its partners will develop a toolkit of technical, social and business approaches to preventing occupational disease.  This pilot will serve as a model for communities around the world faced with similar occupational hazards.

Click here to watch a video about the project.