Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £12,500 and ordered to pay £25,000 costs for breaching health and safety laws when staff were exposed to a deadly strain of tuberculosis.
The trust was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge on top of the fine and costs, following a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London.
On 17 January 2012, four employees at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea, South West London, were put at serious risk when a test vial containing multi-drug resistant TB bacteria was dropped and smashed in a specialist laboratory.
None of the staff suffered any subsequent health problems following the incident, but the Health and Safety Executive found that there were serious failings at the facility. The trust was found to have conducted inadequate risk assessments, operated poor emergency procedures and failed to provide adequate training for those responsible for health and safety in the laboratory.
The Health and Safety Executive previously had to intervene at this laboratory in 2002 over health and safety issues. These defects were said to be rectified at the time but were subsequently allowed to reoccur.