Officers from Harlow Council Environmental Health, a regulator for workplace health and safety, inspected G4S’s site in Harlow, Essex in October 2013 after receiving a report that an employee contracted Legionellosis – a respiratory disease caused by Legionella.
All potential sources of infection were investigated and, although it was not confirmed that the disease came from this location, officers found that G4S failed to maintain its water systems in compliance with the relevant regulations. It erratically monitored and tested its systems, inadequately trained its staff, had out-of-date policies and had not carried out suitable and sufficient risk assessments.
The company was fined on 2 September at Chelmsford Crown Court and ordered to pay Harlow Council’s court costs of around £34,000 after pleading guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act on 20 June.
G4S told the court that it has since taken measures to improve the health of its employees across the company.
After the hearing councillor Danny Purton, portfolio holder for environment, said: “Although some improvements were made eventually, it had taken G4S almost three years from the date of a risk assessment in 2012 to reach minimum standards to protect its staff and visitors from exposure to Legionella bacteria. The million pound fine should send a serious and important message to other companies.”