0370 270 6000

University animal research workers suffer adverse health effects

12 November 2019

The University of Edinburgh has been fined £10,000 for allowing animal research workers to be exposed to laboratory animal allergens “LAA”.

Two animal research workers have taken the University to court for exposure to LAA which has caused irreversible side effects. The researchers declared that they were allergic to rodents when they started working at the University in 2003. Despite this, they worked with rats and were exposed to LAA during the course of their employment.

The University was found guilty of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which requires an employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees whilst they are at work.

The Health and Safety Executive Inspector, Susan Donnelly, has said the University has ‘completely failed to grasp the importance of risk-based health surveillance’.

The University has said that the safety of people on campus is of paramount importance and if there are ever any issues they will work as swiftly as possible to address them.

One of the ways to avoid falling foul of health and safety duties is to conduct risk-based health surveillance to monitor an individual’s fitness for work. This will enable any health conditions to be identified and monitored.

Reviews of health surveillance should be completed at least every 12 months. This should include a review of any known health conditions and the current measures in place that are designed to protect against or prevent any worsening of the health conditions.

As with all health and safety duties the starting point should be an assessment of the risks involved in the work activity to identify the hazards and the appropriate protective and preventative measures.

Related opinions

80% hours for 100% pay? That’ll do nicely

As has been widely reported this week, some 3,000 UK workers are taking part in a six month trial to assess the viability of a four-day working week without any reduction in their normal pay.

View blog

Building Safety Bill receives Royal Assent

The new regime introduced by the Act will take shape over the next 18 months, but those who design, build or manage high rise buildings are being urged to get ready for the changes to be introduced through the act.

View blog

Building Safety Bill amendments

In March the government proposed a number of changes to the Building Safety Bill. The new amendments propose additional protection for leaseholders to prevent them from being charged for cladding work if they own up to three properties.

View blog

HSE Campaign Targets Construction Industry in Birmingham

The HSE has announced a campaign targeting health and safety in the construction industry in Birmingham. The Campaign is in response to a significant increase in development across the city, partly as a result of preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up