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    Like a zombie rising from the grave, Legionnaires’ disease, that menace of 70s cruise ships and hotels is rearing its hideous head in the 21st Century.  Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia caused by an infection of the bacterium Legionella.  Since 2000, reported cases of Legionnaires’ have grown by almost four and a half times according to the CDC.  The initial outbreak, which took place in 1976 at a Philadelphia convention, sickened 221 people and killed 34.  Many of those convention attendees were members of the American Legion, hence the name Legionnaires’ disease.

    Cooling Tower Incubators
    Cooling towers have been host to the more frequently publicized outbreaks of the disease, with periodic outbreaks originating in the water systems of domestic buildings.  The troublesome pathogen, Legionella pneumophila, centuries old and common in nature, has undoubtedly been infecting humans for a while.  In 2015, the CDC reported 6,000 cases alone, which, because the disease is often underdiagnosed could be a vast understatement. 
    “Most well-publicized outbreaks have been in cooling towers.”
    How It’s Contracted
    Legionella is contracted by inhaling water aerosols that contain the bacteria. Exactly how much bacteria is needed to induce infection is unknown, but experts agree that the numbers vary according to an individual’s health status, age, and other predisposing issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US alone, there are between 8,000 and 18,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease annually, and more than 90 percent of cases go unreported. People with compromised immune systems, respiratory conditions, and cancer are more likely to become infected.  Of those infected, an estimated 10 to 20 percent will die of the disease, and for individuals with compromised immune systems, the fatality rate is even higher.

    Where It’s Found
    Because Legionella bacteria occur naturally in soil and various waterways such as rivers and streams, they can successfully colonize manmade water handling and storage systems where they often find the ideal nutrition and temperature conditions to flourish. Legionella bacteria can also hide inside scale and sediment where they find protection from hot water and chemical disinfectants.
    The conventional water and air-conditioning engineering methods used in recirculating cooling towers, air-conditioning chill coils and humidifiers, aquatic, water storage and distribution systems offer the potential for legionella to harm large numbers of people.  While the most reported, widespread cases of Legionnaires’ disease have originated from cooling towers, the likelihood that hot and cold domestic water systems may harbor legionella should never be underestimated. 

    Preventive Measures
    While no water treatment or maintenance system can completely and permanently eradicate the organism, merely being aware of the bacteria and working with your HVAC and plumbing systems professional on a solid preventive maintenance schedule can help circumvent an outbreak.
    For more information on how to ensure the health of your HVAC and plumbing and piping systems…>>(Visit) 
    Domestically Acquired Legionnaires’ disease: Two Case Reports and a Review of the Pertinent Literature
    CDC, Mayo Clinic, 

    A recent article in EHS Journal asked if you could really change safety culture in a company.  At PSF, the answer is an emphatic yes!  According to experts, when it comes to instilling employees with a sense of safety’s importance, changing the culture is key. 

    What Constitutes a Safety Culture?

    Oddly enough, just what constitutes a safety culture can often be lost on employees.  What helps is driving the point home through sheer repetition and relating workplace safety to everyday situations and activities.  That is precisely the method that PSF Safety leaders have been utilizing, with CEO Wayne as champion.  Since coming on board to helm PSF, Wayne has elevated safety as one of the company’s most important corporate values and in the process is transforming PSF into a safety first organization that’s leading the way in the industry. 

    PSF team members treat each other like family; demonstrating a concern for each person’s personal welfare that extends beyond the job. This consistent awareness of safety and how it affects the health and well-being of clients, colleagues and families — is what constitutes a safety culture.

    Seven Safety Tips

    Listed below are seven tried and time-honored tips to help your organization grow its safety culture:

    1. REINFORCE the importance of personal safety to management, co-workers, family, and friends.

    2. DEMONSTRATE that safe actions create safe outcomes. Walk the Walk.

    3. HIGHLIGHT and reward exemplary safety behavior.

    4. RELATE safety rules and regulations to real life

    5. EMPHASIZE getting a job done safely over getting a job done quickly.

    6. ENCOURAGE “safety shares” during every meeting where attendees provide real-life examples of accidents or near misses at home or on the job.

    7. ALLOW employees to talk about near misses. injuries and incidents – everyone will listen.

     Photo courtesy of Cory Parris Photography
  • Dec 13 2017


    Being safe is job number one for PSF workers both on and offsite. When it comes to Safety – Everyday. Everywhere. Everyone is our motto! So recently, when an owner stepped onto a job site without a hard hat, one of our tradespeople issued a reprimand.  Initially, the owner was taken aback, offended even, but our tradesperson didn’t flinch.  Thankfully, upon reflection, the owner realized his mistake and that our tradesperson was right.  At PSF, each of us understands that safety extends to everyone, and we care enough about our client’s safety that we’re not afraid to check the people that sign ours.

  • The goal of a business meeting should be to create an atmosphere where vital information and ideas are shared. Is that happening at your meetings? If not, here are five practical tips on how to conduct more engaging meetings from the pages of Fast Company…>> (Read more)
  • The foundation of our culture and overall business philosophy centers on building relationships. We support this philosophy of client care and advocacy by assigning each of our clients an account manager to serve as a single point of contact responsible for all aspects of a client account. This single point of contact focuses on the client’s specific needs and seamlessly brings multiple capabilities to bear on their facility.  PSF attributes its more than 100 years of success to strong communication, attention to detail, a practical “get it right the first time” approach and the belief that nothing is more valuable than our long-term relationships with you!