OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
The Erie office of the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has conducted an inspection of Reznor Manufacturing in Mercer, Pa., in response to a complaint regarding a case of Legionnaires' Disease acquired by an employee of the facility.
As a result of the OSHA inspection, it was determined that one confirmed case of Legionnaires' Disease had occurred among the employees. Legionella bacteria are commonly found in low concentrations in many water sources and represent minimal health risk, but are capable of growing to high concentrations in warm water conditions and can represent a significant health risk if inhaled in sufficient quantities. Proper maintenance of water systems is the principal means of preventing Legionnaires' Disease.
Water samples collected from another building at the facility failed to locate a potential source of Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' Disease. However, high concentrations of Legionella anisa were located in water used to cool spot welding equipment. Legionella anisa is a less virulent form of Legionella and it not known to cause Legionnaire's Disease. The company has agreed to implement a water treatment program on the water systems at the facility to minimize the potential for Legionella growth.
Further evaluations conducted at the facility by OSHA indicate that as many as six additional cases of pneumonia had occurred among the workforce at this facility in the last six months. OSHA has referred the investigation of these cases to the Pennsylvania Department of Health in order to determine if a cause of these other pneumonias can be determined.
OSHA's inspection of the facility continues in safety and health areas unrelated to Legionella.
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