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Legionnaires' Disease

Friday, July 19, 2019
Legionnaires' Disease

 

Legionnaires Disease
Harry M. Neill

Today I'd like to share some information about Legionnaires’ Disease and a methodical approach that can be implemented in your facilities to identify sources of Legionella bacteria and to reduce the risks associated with contracting Legionnaires’ Disease. 1Source professionals will work with you to come up with a plan that addresses all the issues associated with prevention of the deadly disease.

Please feel free to e-mail me and we can set aside some time to discuss how 1Source Safety and Health can assist you.

Sincerely,
Harry M. Neill, CIH Vice President,
Mold and Indoor Air Quality Services


How to Respond to Legionella Outbreaks

How to Respond to Legionella Outbreaks

What should you do if an employee or occupant at your facility is diagnosed with Legionnaires disease or Pontiac Fever? How would you respond? Who should be involved? Remember, a methodical approach is crucial. If there is a confirmed case of Legionnaires disease, or worse a death, it is critical to have a plan that addresses all the issues. It is best to have a written, well though out plan in advance of any health related issue; however, with Legionnaires disease it is critical.

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Legionella

Legionella

Legionnaires disease and Pontiac Fever are collectively known as Legionellosis, a disease caused by Legionellabacteria. Legionnaires' disease is a serious, potentially deadly, lung infection (i.e., pneumonia); and Pontiac Fever is a less serious infection with milder symptoms similar to the flu (i.e., seasonal influenza). Although Legionella are usually harmless and found naturally in water and soil, it becomes a potentially deadly human health hazard when it grow in places such as poorly maintained domestic and industrial water systems; cooling towers; or heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) systems. Workers may develop Legionellosis if they are exposed to Legionella from these types of sources, especially in water droplets or respirable fine mists small enough to inhale.

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OSHA Standards

OSHA Standards

There currently is no specific OSHA standard for Legionellosis; however, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, 29 USC 654(a)(1), (referred to as the "General Duty Clause") requires employers to furnish to each worker "employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm" to its workers. OSHA may enforce the General Duty Clause where a workplace has a recognized, serious hazard for which there is no specific OSHA standard (e.g., occupational exposure to Legionella in water systems). Employers should know the hazards and risks with having water sources in the workplace and maintain all systems to prevent Legionella growth.

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