Legionnaires’ disease is caused by inhalation of Legionella bacteria, which can be found in potable water sources, including cooling towers, hot-water heaters, showers, sinks, drinking fountains, hot tubs, and whirlpool baths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that each year between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease in the U.S; however, this number may be higher because many infections are not diagnosed or reported.
Outbreaks can still occur in spite of the best precautions, and a Legionella outbreak, or even an isolated case, is a serious health issue and indicates a potential imminent risk for other building occupants. It can also pose significant liability issues for the institution including loss of revenue, disruption or closing of operations, negative publicity and law suits. EH&E can respond quickly with a multi-disciplinary team to identify the source, reduce exposure risks, and minimize financial loss.
To proactively reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease in your facility or building, EH&E’s team of experts can develop Legionella Risk Management Plans that meet or exceed the ASHRAE Standard, Prevention of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems. EH&E extends the written plan to include an online SharePoint tool to facilitate documentation, task tracking, and notifications. EH&E’s management plans will:
- Identify risk factors for Legionella and Legionnaires’ Disease (e.g., both environmental conditions and operational risks).
- Mitigate risk and potential liability.
- Define clear roles and responsibilities.
- Specify testing and maintenance frequency, procedures, and interpretation of results.
- Document activities for required notification to regulatory authorities.
- Automate notifications, facilitate data reviews, and organize documents using the SharePoint website customized by EH&E.
The multi-disciplinary approach is vital to developing a successful strategy to both mitigate the health risks and to managing an effective risk communication program for building owners and occupants. EH&E has staff available with expertise in:
- Engineering & building systems
- Exposure and risk assessment
- Industrial hygiene
- Risk communication
We have conducted Legionella responses for national and international clients including hospitals, hotels and resorts, cruise ships, residential communities, industrial plants and commercial office buildings. Depending on the situation, our team of experts can offer:
- Testing to identify sources of Legionella bacteria.
- Engineering review of mechanical plant, ventilation, plumbing, and potable water process.
- Epidemiologic investigation to identify causative factors.
- Exposure and risk analysis.
- Litigation and insurance claim support services.
- Specification of remediation plan and oversight of implementation.
- Risk communication and management.