HPA in hot water over E.coli spillage
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has been fined after admitting it exposed some of its workers to a dangerous virus.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that E.coli O157 spilled on to the floor at the Centre for Infections in Colindale in October 2007.
The HSE found that the HPA failed to assess the risks involved in the waste transfer and disposal of the Hazard Group 3 bacteria and had not trained its employees appropriately for the task.
At the City of London Magistrates' Court, the HPA pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined Ã‚Â£25,000 and ordered to pay Ã‚Â£20,166.10.
"E.coli O157 is a highly infectious and potentially deadly bacterium and there are well established practices for handling this safely," said HSE specialist inspector Jennifer Higham.
"But in this case, these practices were not met, exposing several staff and potentially their families to a real risk of infection."
The HSE urges all companies working with potentially harmful substances to ensure they use the necessary warning signs in order to fully protect their employees from exposure.
Posted by Nicole Stevens
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