*Cleanzine_logo_2a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 29th February 2024 Issue no. 1103

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Decontamination company fined after hospital staff left with life-changing conditions

* Decontamination-fine.jpgYork-based Bio Decontamination has been fined more than £16,000 and ordered to pay £27,228 in costs after staff at Scarborough Hospital were left with life-changing medical conditions having being exposed to ionised hydrogen peroxide following the decontamination process.

Bio Decontamination workers attended the hospital in September 2019 after being hired to carry out the decontamination of the Aspen ward. They used ionised hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate the rooms in the ward, but failed to appropriately seal the rooms, meaning the ionised hydrogen peroxide escaped into the adjacent corridor where hospital staff were working.

It is a legal requirement to adequately control exposure to materials that cause ill health. How people can get exposed must be carefully considered. Guidance is available about what you need to do.
Three members of hospital staff required treatment at the Accident & Emergency department after being exposed to the substance. They suffered from itchy skin and became lightheaded. All three continue to suffer with life changing medical conditions as a result of their exposure and struggle to carry out day to day tasks or work

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that the work had not been properly risk assessed prior to being undertaken. The employees carrying out the work were not appropriately trained nor supervised and the working practices displayed was below the required standard. The level of ionised hydrogen peroxide was not adequately monitored to warn of release, exposing people to dangerous levels.

Bio Decontamination pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Section 3 of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

"This case recognises the dangers of not carrying out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and not appropriately training and supervising staff members," notes HSE inspector Darian Dundas. "These failures left three members of staff so ill they couldn't return to work.

"It could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing the correct control measures and safe working practices."


8th February 2024

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