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2 September 2016 G4S fined £1.8 million after exposing workers to Legionnaires' disease

posted 7 Sept 2016, 06:53 by Ian Clarenbone

G4S Cash Solutions Limited, a subsidiary company of G4S, who handle money for companies across the UK, was prosecuted by Harlow Council after an inspection uncovered a lack of safety measures to prevent staff from contracting the water-borne disease.

At a sentence hearing on 2 September at Chelmsford Crown Court, the judge decided to fine the company, after it pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work back in June.  As well as the £1.8 million fine, the company will pay the council's court costs of around £34,000.

Harlow Council environmental health officers inspected G4S's Harlow site back in October 2013 after it received a report that a local resident had contracted Legionellosis. The resident worked at the site and although it was never confirmed that the disease was contracted from the site, council environmental health officers started to uncover a serious lack of compliance in maintaining water systems at the site.

Chelmsford Crown Court found that the monitoring and testing of systems was erratic, staff had received inadequate training, and there were no up to date policies or suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place to safely operate or manage the building's water systems.  G4S did not take the steps required to reduce the risk of Legionnaires' disease from its water systems and this was despite a long-standing duty, extensive guidance advice from their own consultants and advice from Harlow Council.

Around 200 people are believed to work at G4S's site in Harlow with various contractors and drivers visiting the site throughout the day.  The company advised the court that they have since taken a number of measures to improve health and safety across G4S.

Speaking after the court sentencing, Councillor Danny Purton, portfolio holder for environment, said: "The health and safety of our citizens is our number one priority and the council will always encourage employers to make improvements that protect their workers.