Sickness Leads to Carbon Monoxide Scare at Town Hall

Councillor demands clarity over whether there is any risk to staff or public

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Two members of staff have been taken to hospital after becoming ill at Ealing Town Hall.

The two women had both been working in the building when they became sick at different times last week.

They were sent to hospital for a variety of blood tests - including those for carbon monoxide poisoning. The results haven't yet been released.

Throughout the weekend the Town Hall was tested for carbon monoxide emissions; readings were taken inside and outside the building, within the scaffolding and on the roof.

So far, the area has been given the all clear. Nevertheless arrangements have been made to install more carbon monoxide alarms.

Further checks are being made with contractors working on the nearby Dickens Yard development and on the Town Hall roof, but so far the cause of the illness remains a mystery.

There has been criticism about the Council's handling of the problem - and calls for clarity as to whether the building is safe to use.

Members of staff and councillors were told that if they needed to work from the 2nd or 4th floors they should only sit for short spells, keep windows and doors open and tell someone if alone.

A public meeting which was due to take place in the Town Hall was moved to Perceval House - but last night committee members found themselves being redirected back to the Town Hall.

Councillor Jon Ball, Whip of the Liberal Democrat group, has informed the Health and Safety Executive. He says it's not good enough:

''Ealing Council must make it clear whether there is a risk to health in the Town Hall or whether it is safe to use.

''It is simply unacceptable to advise some staff and councillors not to work in the Town Hall while allowing some meetings involving members of the public, some of them elderly, to continue.

''The Council must take proper advice from the Health and Safety Executive and abide by it.''

A Council spokesperson said:

"We have carried out a range of air quality tests as well as installing carbon monoxide alarms but nothing has been found.

"There are no reported issues in any of the public areas of the building and all rooms have been rigorously tested before being used.

''As a precaution we have moved staff out of the office area, where these staff work, while we continue to monitor rooms and seek medical confirmation of the cause of the illness."



27th September 2011