Harlow based G4S Cash Solutions has failed to overturn a £1.8million fine imposed after a worker contracted Legionnaires’ disease in 2013. Legionnaires’ is a flu like disease that is spread by bacteria growing in certain bodies of water.
Failure to protect employees
G4S Cash Solutions was inspected by Harlow Council back in 2013 after one of the workers contracted the disease. Upon visiting the company, environmental health officers reported ‘a serious lack of compliance in maintaining water systems at the site, with erratic monitoring and testing systems, amongst a long list of failings.’
Officers also reported that G4S had failed to take the necessary steps to improve in these areas.
Bid to overturn fine failed
As a result of their health and safety failings, G4S was fined £1.8million in September 2016. They appealed this fine, but their case was thrown out. The security firm then renewed their application for leave to appeal the sentence and, on the 12 July, took the case to the Court of Appeal in London, where they claimed that the fine was excessive.
During the appeal hearing, G4S argued that their culpability rating should be reduced from ‘very high’ to ‘high’, which could potentially reduce their fine.
However, judge Alison Russell QC ruled that it was difficult for her to see any argument within the sentencing guidelines that would reduce G4S’ culpability from ‘very high’.
Russell also stated that G4S was aware of its legal obligations yet, over a 4 and a half year period, had failed to act.
Danny Purton, Harlow Councillor and portfolio holder for environment, said: “I am pleased that the court has upheld the level of fine originally handed fdown to G4S in full. Although G4S did make some improvements to its practices, it was aware of its legal obligations to protect its staff and visitors from exposure to Legionella bacteria and, over a period of four and a half years, it had failed to act.”
Protect your team from Legionnaires’ Disease
According to HSE guidance documents, all water systems require a Legionnaires’ risk assessment. It is a legal duty to carry out an assessment to identify and assess whether there is a risk posed by exposure to Legionella from the hot and cold water systems of any work associated with it.
Here at Salvum, our expert team will ensure that you are fully compliant with Legionnaires’ regulations. Get in touch to find