According to a recent report, legal action has been taken against Health Protection Agency (HPA) for infringing safety regulations. The agency has been accused of exposing some of its workers to E. coli 0157.
In October 2007, the employees working at the Centre for Infections in Colindale disposed off samples of bacteria when a few equipments had fallen on the floor.
The hazardous material had dribbled and it was believed that it could have infected some of the people. A probe was undertaken by The Health and Safety Executive
(HSE) after it was discovered that the right procedures for handling the dangerous materials were not followed by the HPA. The employees in question had received adequate treatment.
The organization had not given a proper training to its workers on how to dump the hazardous waste. It also did not replace the faulty equipments apart from the fact that there were apprehensions regarding these equipments.
HPA pleaded guilty of violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and got a punishment of GBP 25,000.
Jennifer Higham, HSE specialist, disclosed that E. coli O157 is very infectious and is a poisonous bacterium. He further added that there are adequate procedures to handle it safely. However, in the case of HPA, these procedures were not followed.