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09/09/16 G4S fined £1.8 million for water safety breach

Legionnaires' disease

G4S Cash Solutions was fined £1.8 million last Friday, 2nd September 2016, for failing to protect its workers from the risk of Legionnaires' disease. This potentially fatal lung infection is caused by Legionella bacteria, which is found in water.

The case was brought by Harlow Council following an investigation by the council's environmental health officers of the company's Harlow site in October 2013. Monitoring and testing of the water systems was found to be erratic, staff were said to have received inadequate training, and the council said there were no up-to-date policies or suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place to safely operate and manage the building's water systems.

It was noted that G4S Cash Solutions, which pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, had received extensive guidance on the steps required to reduce the risk of Legionnaires' disease from their own consultants, as well as advice from Harlow Council.

"The million-pound-plus fine should send a serious and important message to other companies," said councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment. "Legionnaires’ disease is a real risk and companies need to take their health and safety duties to their employees and others very seriously."

Steve Tugwell, water treatment director of TSS Facilities, commented: "Anyone responsible for a business where there is a water system - hotels, landlords, beauty spas, offices, etc - need to ensure their water system is properly assessed, monitored and maintained. We recommend when getting your water system assessed that you choose a company such as TSS Facilities that is regulated by the Legionella Control Association."

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