A cash management firm in Essex has been fined almost £2 million for failing to protect its workers from Legionnaires’ disease.
An employee of G4S Cash Solutions contracted the lung infection in October 2013 at a company site in Harlow, Essex.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia that can be spread by water droplets through air conditioning systems.
Water system management failure
Investigations by environmental health officials concluded that maintenance of the water systems at the Harlow site did not comply with regulations, and a spokesman for Harlow Council said “the monitoring and testing of systems was “erratic”.
However, the investigators found no proof that the worker had come into contact with Legionella bacteria while at the location.
“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,” the spokesman added.
“This was despite a long-standing duty, extensive guidance, advice from their own consultants and advice from Harlow Council.”
G4S was fined £1.8 million after pleading guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to two charges under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.
The firm has also been ordered to pay court costs of £34,000 to Harlow Council.
“Confident” problems will not reoccur
The company has since improved health and safety and taken steps to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems.
Graham Levinsohn, G4S chief executive for Europe, said: “We regret that in 2013 the water management process at the Harlow Cash Centre was substandard and improvements should have been made promptly once this issue was identified.
“While the risk of harm was low and no cases of illness were found to have been caused by the water at the site, we have fundamentally overhauled the approach to managing water systems since 2013. The regime of water management introduced across all our cash centres since is now industry-leading and we are confident that a failing like this will not recur.”
Source: Harlow Star
Date Published: October 1, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown