Details on 170 employees sent out by mistake, Legco panel told The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has revealed that 170 employees' work injury information was sent to the wrong recipient on Thursday - the latest in a series of data leaks from government departments. The mistake, which was disclosed at a special meeting of the Legislative Council panel on information technology and broadcasting, puts further pressure on the government to tighten its data security. Yesterday's panel meeting had been specially convened to discuss the data leaks. A spokesman for the department said the incident occurred when a member of staff 'inadvertently e-mailed a document' to a complainant. The document contained information about the work injuries of about 170 employees. No personal data of the public was involved. 'Letters have been sent to the staff concerned informing them of the incident and offering our apologies,' the spokesman said, adding that the Privacy Commissioner has been notified. The department also issued a circular to all staff asking them to handle personal data with caution and reminding them of areas that require special attention, the spokesman said. It was also revealed that the leak was the fourth in the department in three years. Details of the previous three leaks were not available. The government's chief information officer, Jeremy Godfrey, told the panel meeting that the leaks were 'highly regrettable' and offered an apology to the public. Mr Godfrey said a number of remedial measures had been put in place, including the requirement that government employees must now obtain authorisation before taking documents home. The Hospital Authority said it had contacted all 16,000 patients whose personal data had been leaked in 10 incidents within the last two months. The Civil Service Bureau and the Department of Health - where 25 civil servants' details and 665 patients' private data were leaked respectively - had also taken similar measures. But the Immigration Department, where a rookie officer leaked confidential information on 14 people, said it was unable to get hold of those affected. Privacy Commissioner Roderick Woo Bun said he hoped that government departments would consider it 'good practice' to report leaks to his office even though there was no legal requirement to do so. 'In many cases, we only know about the leak from media inquiries or reports,' Mr Woo said. 'With only 39 staff in the office, we obviously cannot act as private detectives to these to find out about these incidents.' He said several cases were being investigated and a decision on a probe into the Immigration Department leak would be made next week. Unionist lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said the leak of industrial accident records could harm the employment prospects of those affected. Meanwhile, Ip Yum-tak, chairman of a government staff union, called for guidelines on handling employee information. Mr Ip thought the apology was appropriate.