Fumes still a problem at Linden Hospital lab

The main laboratory of the Linden Hospital Complex continues to be non-functional as the administration battles to find the root cause of strong fumes that have affected workers for some time now.

Acting Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Farouk Riyasat said that the room which houses the department continues to be under the watchful eyes of experts and the hospital’s management, since they have not been able to find the source of the fumes.

Last week, it was suspected that a clogged neutralisation tank in the sewer system was responsible for the fumes. However, after corrective measures were taken, the problem persisted. According to Riyasat, they are looking at a number of other possible sources. “I wouldn’t want to make any pronouncement at this time because we are still not sure what is the direct cause or source of the fumes,” he said.

He added that they have discontinued the use of some chemicals that were being utilised in the laboratory as part of the fact finding drive, while personnel make several checks daily of the room to determine the frequency of fumes, if it persists or if it is subsiding. Riyasat said that he estimates that by the end of the week, the health and safety officer should be able to produce a report on the findings.

In the meantime, the area which has been earmarked for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is being used as the main laboratory.

Workers and the union have highlighted the problem of fumes affecting workers in the main laboratory of the LHC since December of 2010. Operations at the department had to be interrupted for several hours daily whenever the problem surfaced.

Following threats of industrial action, contact was made with the Ministry of Labour’s Occupational Health and Safety Division, the Linden Fire Service and the E and E Air Sampling Company, recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, to address the situation.

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