Category Archives: Chemical Exposure

Norovirus Outbreak on Disney Cruise Spreads to Crew Members

An outbreak of Norovirus on a Disney Cruise ship has spread to 131 passengers and 14 crew members.

A Caribbean cruise from Miami to the Bahamas was ruined for 131 passengers and 14 crew of the Disney Wonder when they were struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea between 27th April and 1st May, later found to be attributed to an outbreak of norovirus on the ship.

The outbreak of disease was immediately reported to U.S. Center for Disease Control, and as a consequence the cruise ship was boarded by environmental health officers on its return to Miami. An investigation was launched to review the outbreak and the company´s response and care of the passengers.

The ship operators informed the environmental health officers that an increased cleaning and disinfection schedule had been implemented in accordance with the cruise ship´s outbreak prevention and response plan. Furthermore, stool specimens had been collected for testing from affected passengers and crew members for further analysis.

The Center for Disease Control analysed the stool samples and confirmed that the illnesses were attributable to norovirus – a common and highly contagious form of gastroenteritis that can be transmitted quickly in confined environments. Environmental health officers are still trying to locate the origin of the outbreak on the ship.

The operators are handling requests for refunds on a case-by-case basis in an attempt to prevent an overload of people seeking compensation. Some of the affected passengers are also being offered credits for future cruises.

Disney cruise injury claims are rare. The most recent outbreak comes fourteen years since the last recorded outbreak of norovirus on a Disney cruise ship. On that occasion hundreds of passengers fell ill on two Disney Magic cruises from Port Canaveral. The lack of Disney cruise injury claims has been attributed to staff handing guests hand wipes when they enter dining areas.

This is the tenth outbreak of norovirus on a cruise ship that the Center for Disease Control has investigated and confirmed this year.

Chemical Manufacturing Company Fined after Workers Exposed to Toxic Substances

Endeavour Speciality Chemicals Ltd, a chemical manufacturing company from Daventry, Northamptonshire has been fined by Northampton Magistrates’ Court for exposing its employees to a variety of hazardous chemicals.  A 46-year-old despatch officer who worked for the company developed occupational asthma and rhinitis after she handled numerous toxic substances – used in the process food production – that were categorised as being a health hazard. The former despatch officer now has another job in the firm as she has been rendered unable to work with chemicals any longer.

Employees of the company were expected to manually pour substances into containers to despatch to customers, despite the fact that they were not provided with ventilation or workplace necessary health and safety measures. It was discovered by a Health and Safety Executive investigation that the company had not adequately assessed the dangers of the chemicals they used, or the extent of how it could affect the employees that had been exposed to it, in addition to failing to impose preventative measures

Endeavour Speciality Chemicals Ltd was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 after they pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(1), and 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

James Wright, a HSE inspector, had this to say on the matter –

“The company’s failure to assess the risks, and implement control measures for what was a simple work process, has resulted in an employee suffering years of ill health, and has probably prevented her from ever working with chemicals again.

“The measures that were required to have made this work safe were inexpensive and not difficult to implement. These could have included effective fume cupboards suitable for the work, local exhaust ventilation, good hygiene practices, exposure monitoring and suitable PPE. Companies should ensure they have suitable arrangements in place to manage the risks from the handling of hazardous substances.”

“Every year, thousands of workers are made ill by hazardous substances, contracting lung disease such as asthma, cancer and skin disease such as dermatitis. These diseases cost many millions of pounds each year to industry, to replace the trained worker, to society, in disability allowances and medicines, and individuals, who may lose their jobs.”