A Bedford based health care provider has been fined after it failed to act on concerns raised by an occupational health nurse.
The case concerned Ramsay Health Care (UK) Operations Ltd. Southwark Crown Court heard how in June 2014 an OH nurse raised concerns with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) relating to the running of the company’s internal occupational health service.
The HSE investigation found the company failed to appoint sufficient occupational health professionals to run the service, which compromised the health and safety of its employees, patients and general members of the public, putting them at risk of suffering ill health or of acquiring an infection. HSE served four Improvement Notices as part of the investigation.
The HSE investigation also found that the company failed to provide adequate health surveillance for its workers, as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. As a result, a nurse working at one of the company’s hospitals in Lincolnshire was diagnosed with occupational dermatitis in January 2015, which later spread from her hands to her arms and legs.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £550,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,320.44
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emma Page said: “Healthcare providers should be aware of their legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees as well as their patients and service users. HSE will not hesitate to hold those accountable who do not fulfil their legal obligations.”
- 5-page article in ‘Occupational Health at Work’ journal: Inadequate Provision: Hospital group prosecuted for insufficient provision of OH services (Occupational Health at Work 2018; 14(5): 15-19).