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Workplace responsibilities towards legionella risk

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Back in 2016, G4S was subject to a hefty fine, when they were found to be in breach of the Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act 1974.

An employee became ill in a suspected legionella case, and when HSE attended, they discovered that there was nothing in place by way of a scheme of control, risk assessment, or water safety policy.

Based on their findings, they issued an improvement notice and on returning to site found that none of their instructions had been completed. As a result, G4S were found to be in breach of the HSW act and found themselves in trouble.

The fine they eventually received was for £1.8 million (reduced from an initial 3.2m), which was calculated based on the size of the company and turnover.

Thankfully, in this case the employee was okay but although there was no human cost, there was still a great financial penalty and significant reputational damage.

As a result, they made staff and process changes to ensure this kind of thing didn’t happen again. The key lesson from this case is that if the correct processes had been in place when the HSE initially visited site, G4S could have avoided unnecessary expense and disruption.

Keeping work environments safe from legionella is a legal requirement under the HSW Act. Do you need help achieving full compliance? Find out more about the legionella services we offer.

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Environtec Ltd is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory (No. 0197) and inspection body (No. 2030).

Our accreditation is limited to those activities described on our UKAS schedule of accreditation.