Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Legionellosis (Legionnaires' Disease and Pontiac Fever)

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Legionellosis Menu


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.

Some OSHA standards and regulations that may apply to a workplace with the potential for Legionella contamination and growth include, but are not limited to, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (29 CFR 1910.132) and Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) standards. In addition, chemicals used for cleaning and water system disinfection may be considered hazardous, requiring additional precautions under the Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, 29 USC 660(c), prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for raising concerns about safety and health conditions. OSHA encourages workers who suffer such discrimination to submit a complaint to OSHA. Workers have 30 days to file their complaints.

Depending on the specific work task, setting, and exposure to other biological or chemical agents, examples of other OSHA requirements that may apply include:

Recordkeeping and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness (29 CFR 1904)
Related Information
29 CFR Part 1904, Recording and reporting occupational injuries and illness


General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Related Information
Subpart H, Hazardous material
Subpart I, Personal protective equipment 1910.132, General requirements
1910.133, Eye and face protection
1910.134, Respiratory protection
1910.138, Hand protection
Subpart J, General environmental controls 1910.141, Sanitation
Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances 1910.1020, Access to employee exposure and medical records
1910.1200, Hazard communication
Basic Program Elements for Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health Programs and Related Matters (29 CFR 1960)
Related Information
29 CFR 1960, Basic program elements for federal employee occupational safety and health programs


Specific Directives of Interest
State Standards

There are 28 OSHA-approved State Plans, operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements.

Additional guidance is available on the Control and Prevention and Additional Resources pages.

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