ASHRAE‘s proposed standard 188P for the Prevention of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems, went through its third and final public review this spring and is likely to become an official ASHRAE standard soon.
What will the shift from guideline to standard mean for healthcare providers?
The new standard will mean some give and take. To comply with ASHRAE 188P, facility managers and owners will need to formally take responsibility for controlling Legionella in the healthcare facility’s water system, including both drinking and utility water. While facility managers and owners will have to take on more formal responsibility, proactive compliance with the standard will help protect the hospital against negligence claims in Legionella-related lawsuits.
It is also important to note that ASHRAE’s Legionella Guideline 12 gave recommendations on how to treat building water systems, the new standard identifies the exact measures that must be taken to prevent Legionella from developing and harming employees and patients.
Why is compliance with the new standard so important for healthcare providers?
The benefits of implementing the measures detailed in the new standard are three-fold:
- Following the requirements of the new Legionellosis standard will lower the chance that patients will be exposed to and/or contract the potentially fatal disease. Preventing Legionella bacteria is critical because the combination of vulnerable patients, complex water systems, and the use of medial devices that can distribute water-borne legionellosis into the lower respiratory tract of patients leave healthcare facilities especially vulnerable to playing a role in the onset of legionellosis.
- According to the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, healthcare facilities are required to protect employees and visitors from known hazards. Because there is a vast amount of information about preventing legionellosis available in the public realm, failure to comply with ASHRAE 188P could result in negligence accusations in court. Following the new standard will help protect healthcare facilities from negligence claims in costly lawsuits.
- Compliance with the new standard will help protect relationships with patients and uphold your healthcare facility’s reputation in the event of a lawsuit.
How can AMI help healthcare facilities protect themselves and their patients from a Legionellosis-related crisis?
Here at AMI Environmental, our job is to help organizations create a safe work environment in full compliance with government and industry standards. In doing so, our clients not only manage risk more effectively, but also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their employees and patients are protected.
We can work with your organization to establish and maintain ASHRAE Standard 188 compliance. We jumpstart the process by helping you form a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Plan (HACCP) team comprised of facility staff members, engineers, and other important parties that will make sure necessary steps and precautions are being followed. We will then consult with this HACCP team to develop process flow diagrams, analyze potential hazards and identify critical control points within your healthcare facility.