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Hospital fined for chemical hazard


19 August, 2008  

A hospital has been fined almost GBP 20,000 after one of its employees was exposed to a hazardous chemical while cleaning an X-ray film processor.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS trust, based in Grantham, Lincolnshire, was fined GBP 18,500 and ordered to pay costs of GBP 3,500 after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety Regulations at Boston Magistrates’ Court.

The prosecution followed a visit by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors to the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, where they found an employee had been cleaning the film processor for several years without proper safety precautions, exposing her to gluteraldehyde, a chemical which can cause skin and respiratory problems.

Speaking after the court case, HSE inspector Jo Anderson said: “The trust placed the health of one its workers at risk by failing to properly identify the risk of exposure and putting appropriate controls in place. In fact, the risk was only identified when HSE staff visited the hospital and banned the use of the film processor until steps were taken to reduce the exposure risks.

“All employers must have systems in place to ensure that work with hazardous substances is identified, in order that the health of employees can be properly protected.”

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Health and Safety Executive