In October 2013, Harlow Council investigated the source of a G4S worker contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Although Harlow Council could not prove that the illness was contracted from the site it found various failings in maintaining water systems at the workplace.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard from Harlow Council how G4S had erratic monitoring and testing of systems, staff had received inadequate training, and there were no up to date policies or suitable and sufficient risk assessments to safely operate or manage the building’s water systems. Furthermore, G4S had failed to take steps to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems, despite there being extensive guidance and advice from their own consultants and advice from Harlow Council.

G4S pleaded guilty to two charges under the HSWA 1974 and were ordered to pay £1.8m in fines and court costs of £34,000. For the purposes of the sentencing guidelines, the court found very high culpability with a low risk of harm. Although G4S’s annual turnover brought them into the category of a very large organisation, their change of culture and monitoring systems led to the overall fine being reduced.