G4S Cash Solutions has been fined £1.8 million after failing to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems.

In October 2013, a G4S worker was reported to have contracted Legionnaires’ disease, which causes flu-like symptoms and can, in some cases, lead to life-threatening problems.

Harlow Council investigated but environmental health officers were unable to prove that the worker had contracted the disease from the site. However, the council did uncover a serious lack of compliance in maintaining water systems at the workplace.

The council began prosecution procedings and G4S pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in June 2016.

In September 2016, a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court sentenced G4S to pay £1.8 million in fines and court costs of £34,000.

A spokesperson for Harlow Council said: “The environmental health officers found 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 steps required to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems.

“This was despite a long-standing duty, extensive guidance, advice from their own consultants and advice from Harlow Council.”

At court, representatives from G4S said they had taken measures to improve the health and safety at their Harlow site.

Any water system with the right environmental conditions could be a source for legionella bacteria growth. The most common sources of legionella are in man-made water systems, including hot and cold water systems.

If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, you have a duty to understand and manage legionella risks. Eton Environmental Group is able to carry out legionella risk assessments, which will help you understand your water system, establish legionella risks and define any action that should be taken to prevent the spread of legionella bacteria.

For more information call us on 01325 366886.