Cancer in the workplace

Exposure to carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents at work

Occupational exposures to carcinogens are estimated to cause over 5000 new cases of cancer in Australia each year.

A much higher proportion of males than females are exposed to carcinogens at work, particularly those who hold a trade and are residing in regional areas. The risk of exposure cancer-causing agents is greatest for farmers, drivers, miners and transport workers. 

The Occupational Exposures to Carcinogens in Australia lists 38 cancer causing agents of high priority and specific to Australian workplaces.

The most common workplace cancers in Australia are: 

  • Mesothelioma
  • Bronchus and lung
  • Nose and nasal sinus
  • Leukaemia
  • Bladder
  • Cervix
  • Stomach
  • Liver


Prevention is better than a cure

Putting in place control measures for carcinogenic hazards is the only way to reduce your cancer risk at work. Cancer Council has produced information to help reduce the risk of exposure to carcinogens at work, designed for both employers and employees.

Click on the links to find the following information: