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£1.8m fine for Legionnaires’ disease risk at G4S site

February 2018

The cash management division of security firm G4S has failed to overturn the £1.8m fine it received in September 2016 over Legionella failings that were not fully addressed for six years.

The Court of Appeal rejected the company’s argument that its culpability was wrongly categorised as “very high” during sentencing, and that the fine was therefore “manifestly excessive”.

Judges said the fact that it took the company so long to act on the failings – even when served with an improvement notice – justified the categorisation.

Had the appeal been successful, the fine could have been cut in half.

Harlow Council prosecuted G4S Cash Solutions (UK) after a worker at the firm’s site on Sandringham Avenue, Harlow contracted Legionnaires’ disease in October 2013.

Environmental Health Officers could not establish whether the worker’s disease was caused by Legionella bacteria at the site, but they found that serious risks with the building’s hot and cold water system had been uncovered in a risk assessment but not addressed.

The council found that G4S had an unsigned health and safety policy dated 2009, but it was not until May 2012, when it hired a legionella consultancy, that a risk assessment was carried out on the water system.

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