Workplace First Aid - What does OSHA think about AED's?
Workplace first aid - What OSHA thinks about AED's
When a person's heart begins to beat in an uncoordinated manner, nothing can help except an electrical shock to bring the heart back into normal rhythm. This event is called Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and it happens to about a quarter of a million people every year. Workplace electrocution, low oxygen, overexertion and other factors can trigger SCA. OSHA says that "All worksites are potential candidates for AED programs.." In our five part series on workplace first-aid, this third article talks about AED's (Automated External Defibrillators) and their roll in the workplace. (Image credit goes to Zoll Inc.
A few important facts about Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
- Survival from SCA is reduced 7-10 percent for every minute without immediate CPR or defibrillation.
- The normal heart rate, if treated promptly is restored about 60% of the time.
- EMS can take up to 20 minutes for help to arrive and by that time, without an AED the chances of survival are slim.
Why your workplace first aid program should include an AED
We have included 4 good reasons why your workplace first aid program should include an AED.
- SCA occurs anywhere, including on the job.
- Onsite AED's increase survival rates because they can be used before EMS arrives.
- Only an AED can restore normal hearth rhythm
- They are lightweight, compact and easy to use
Where to place an AED in the workplace
- OSHA recommends the AED to be conveniently located, allowing allow a response time within 3-5 minutes. Don't put it in a corner far away from people. Centrally located the AED for shorter response times.
- Near an area where there are confined spaces or electric-powered devices
- Outdoor worksites or events where lightening may occur
- Fitness centers, exercise facilities or other types of health units
- Cafeterias or other places where people congregate
- Remote sites where there is limited access to emergency response
Training is an important part of a workplace first aid AED program
Recognizing an SCA event and notifying Emergency Response Personnel is one of several elements of a comprehensive AED training program. Workers should also be trained to perform CPR, how to operate and deliver lifesaving defibrillation with an AED and also how to care for someone who has had SCA until the EMS personnel arrive.
OSHA states that AED's "have a proven track record of saving lives in public places as well as in the workplace. They can do the same for you and your employees. Please consider installing AEDs in your workplace." We would encourage you to go to the OSHA website to learn more about AED's. You can also contact other reputable organizations who specialize in AED's and comprehensive training programs such as the American Heart Association.