HACCP-Based Programs for Preventing Disease and Injury from Premise Plumbing: A Building Consensus

Abstract: Thousands of preventable injuries and deaths are annually caused by microbial, chemical and physical hazards from building water systems. Water is processed in buildings before use; this can degrade the quality of the water. Processing steps undertaken on-site in buildings often include conditioning, filtering, storing, heating, cooling, pressure regulation and distribution through fixtures that restrict flow and temperature. Therefore, prevention of disease and injury requires process management. A process management framework for buildings is the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) adaptation of failure mode effects analysis (FMEA). It has been proven effective for building water system management. Validation is proof that hazards have been controlled under operating conditions and may include many kinds of evidence including cultures of building water samples to detect and enumerate potentially pathogenic microorganisms. However, results from culture tests are often inappropriately used because the accuracy and precision are not sufficient to support specifications for control limit or action triggers. A reliable negative screen is based on genus-level Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Legionella in building water systems; however, building water samples with positive results from this test require further analysis by culture methods.

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