AEDs in the Workplace: Preparing for Cardiac Events in the Office
With approximately 10,000 cardiac arrests occurring at work each year in the U.S., it is vital that workplaces take measures to protect its employees. An excellent way to do that is to keep an automated external defibrillator, or AED, in the office.
Why? The Occupational and Safety Health Administration reports that waiting for the arrival of emergency medical system personnel results in a 5-7% survival rate for cardiac arrest victims. AEDs allow those on-site to take matters into their own hands in the meantime in order to give the victim a better chance of survival.
An AED is a medical device that analyzes the heart rhythm and delivers an electric shock to victims of ventricular fibrillation in order to restore the heart rhythm to normal. Having one in your office can mean the difference between life and death. Below is how and why you should keep an AED in your office or workplace.
The importance of having AEDs in the office
The biggest reason every workplace should have an AED is almost every office has a “high-risk” individual:
- Men aged forty or over
- Those with a personal history of heart disease
- Those with a family history of heart disease
- Post-menopausal women
- Those with high blood pressure
- Those with high cholesterol
Survival rates for an individual experiencing cardiac arrest drop seven to ten percent for every minute without defibrillation. That means, without an AED, the odds of survival in a workplace not immediately near a healthcare center are not favorable.
Some bosses worry about keeping an AED on-site due to liability. However, modern AEDs are safe and will not deliver a shock to a person who still has a heartbeat, which means you won’t have to worry about your AED doing more harm than good to a victim.
How else can you prepare for cardiac events in the office?
Though there are no national requirements for having AEDs and offices, good bosses should consider offering health and safety workshops for employees bu bringing in a trained facilitator. If everyone in the workplace knows how to use an AED, there is a far better chance of saving a life in the event of a cardiac arrest.
Train employees to:
- Recognize symptoms of cardiac arrest and call for emergency medical attention
- Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Locate and use an AED to provide defillibration
- Provide care to the victim until the EMS arrive
This training should be repeated each year to refresh memories and fill in new employees. Additional first aid training for CPR is important, too.
Finally, be sure to regularly check in on your AED to ensure it is working properly. A good rule of thumb is to inspect your AED each month. Check in with the manufacturer every now and then to be informed on recent software updates.