Establish an effective management program that prevents or adequately controls the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria.
This WELL feature requires projects to analyze their facilities for risk of Legionella and set up teams and response processes to manage concerns.
Legionella is a species of bacteria naturally present in many bodies of water that, if inhaled, can lead to legionellosis (commonly called Legionnaires' Disease), a type of pneumonia. It can cause coughs and shortness of breath and also muscle aches and headaches. If untreated, it can lead to lung failure and death, especially for those at higher risk, such as individuals who smoke, are over 50 or have a weakened immune system. The Legionella bacterium was first identified in 1976 following an outbreak in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Each year in the U.S., Legionella results in roughly 8,000 to 18,000 hospitalizations; in France, there are roughly 1,300 cases each year, and in Australia, 300 to 500 cases are identified annually. This represents a rate of 1.8 to 2 cases per 100,000 population, a number that has been increasing in recent years in many locations.
Legionella is dangerous when suspended in mists or sprays that can be inhaled. This occurs most often when inappropriately treated and managed water is used in hot tubs, showers, fountains and large building refrigeration systems and forms a mist of contaminated water. Controlling Legionella risk is a complex process, but several organizations have published standards and guidelines outlining best practices and proven methods of prevention; for example, ASHRAE Standard 188, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
By carefully cataloging water assets and hazards and preemptively developing plans and responses, projects can control a common building-related illness.
Implement Legionella Management Plan
A Legionella management plan is implemented and contains the following:
Formation of a team for Legionella management in the building.
Water system inventory and production of process flow diagrams.
Hazard analysis of water assets.
Identification of control points and measures.
Monitoring actions to ensure control measures are within performance limits and determining corrective actions.
Verification and validation procedures.
Documentation of the plan and its implementation.
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