Harlow company fined following Legionnaire's disease outbreak
A fine has been issued to G4S Cash Solutions, following a guilty plea to failing to protect its employees from potentially dangerous Legionnaire's disease.
In 2013, Harlow Council discovered that an employee at G4S Cash Solutions had contracted the disease, which produces flu-like symptoms as a result of a serious infection of the lungs. The disease is spread by droplets of water in air conditioning systems.
Following an investigation by the council, officials could not demonstrate that the worker had contracted the illness through his workplace, although the investigation did reveal that the company had failed to comply with regulations for maintaining the workplace water systems.
G4S pleaded guilty to two charges under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act on June 20 this year. The company was ordered to pay £1.8m plus costs of £34,000. A spokesperson for the council said that the company had tested and monitored the water systems in a sporadic fashion. Training for staff was inadequate, policies were out of date and insufficient risk assessments were in place. Despite advice being given by Harlow Council and the firm’s own consultants, action was not taken to remove the threat from the Harlow site.
G4S has now remedied the situation and has taken steps to protect its employees from unnecessary risks. This may include the use of workwear to protect workers, or the application of PPE. The provision of risk assessments and adequate training for workers will also be necessary.