A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any given moment. It is a debilitating condition that is treatable and reversible, even by those not trained as healthcare professionals. One thing that can make a world of difference during such a major cardiac event is an automated external defibrillator (AED). Having one on-site improves the survival and recovery rate from a cardiac arrest of any magnitude.
Placing AEDs in the workplace is the first step in preparing for such an emergency. Training employees on using the devices and being obsessively vigilant about maintaining AEDs are essential factors for improving workplace readiness and response.
Only about 5% of all people who suffer sudden cardiac outside the hospital are successfully resuscitated. Still, if you or a loved one find yourselves in such a precarious situation, being among that 5% is the only thing that matters, and on-site AEDs are what makes the difference.
This article will help you understand what are the benefits of AEDs in the workplace, including the importance of rapid response, ease of use, legal requirements, and the potential to save lives.
The Importance of Rapid Response
During a sudden cardiac arrest, every minute counts. As a rule of thumb, the chances of survival reduce by 10% with every minute that passes without care being provided. Since emergency services will surely need at least a few minutes to get on the scene, having an AED at hand can change the statistics in favor of the cardiac arrest victim.
As per certain studies, using an AED to resuscitate a person suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest as soon as possible or within minutes of their collapse can dramatically increase their chances of survival. Still, only 50% of all workers have immediate access to an AED at their workplace, reported the American Heart Association.
Immediate access to an AED, along with appropriately administered CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), is as close as a sudden cardiac arrest victim can get to hospital care during an out-of-hospital emergency. Rapid response is also extremely important, meaning proper training and access to necessary tools can make a difference.
What Are the Benefits of AEDs in the Workplace?
Apart from the obvious advantage of providing the highest level of care to a cardiac arrest victim in a workplace environment, there are several more important benefits of equipping workplaces with AEDs. Let’s focus on the key ones:
Ease of Use
One of the benefits of AEDs in the workplace is their ease of use. The devices are very user-friendly and designed to provide the operator with audible step-by-step guidelines, from placement to shock administration. This makes them perfect for workplace environments, as even untrained people can use them effectively. Visual and voice prompts guide users through the process, from applying the electrode pads to delivering a shock if necessary.
Modern AEDs also feature some impressive advanced properties that include safety protocols for the operator and the victim. These devices only deliver a shock if they detect a shockable rhythm, preventing accidental shocks. Additionally, some AEDs provide real-time feedback on the quality of CPR compressions, helping users perform effective chest compressions.
There are no binding federal laws in the US about the presence and placement of AEDs in the workplace. However, most states have state-wide regulations regarding workplace AED presence. Most of these laws refer to the placement of AEDs and employee training, as these are the key aspects of operating AEDs successfully.
Employers must familiarize themselves with their state’s specific laws and regulations and ensure compliance. Providing an AED in the workplace significantly contributes to the quality of urgent care that individuals, whether employees or clients of a company, can receive in an emergency. Moreover, Good Samaritan laws mean that using one in such an emergency will not land you in legal trouble.
Potential to Save Lives
Another important benefit of having an AED in the workplace is the potential to help save someone’s life. There are no clear demographic tendencies for cardiac arrest victims, as they can range from youth to older people. Interestingly enough, athletes, who are generally healthy and very fit, are a group that often experiences such cardiac events.
By having an AED on-site, employers and employees can be prepared to respond quickly, which, as we saw earlier, can be the difference between life and death. An AED has one role – shock the heart’s electrical system to restart it into a functional rhythm. Used in combination with CPR techniques, the result can not only include avoiding death but also having a shorter and much easier recovery after the event.
Training and Education
To maximize the benefits of workplace AEDs, it is crucial to provide training and education to employees. Even though AEDs nowadays are smart machines, leading the operator through the entire process, dedicated theoretical and practical training is still invaluable.
Courses focusing on AEDs usually build on existing basic CPR certification. They address recognizing the signs of suffering cardiac arrest, acting according to a predetermined sequence of steps, and deciding the order of application of CPR and AEDs. Moreover, taking refresher courses every couple of years is essential for staying sharp and being on top of any new developments in the methodology and devices.
The key benefit of this training is that more people get certified in CPR and AED use, which means they can use that knowledge to help cardiac arrest victims even outside the workplace.
Public Perception and Reputation
Providing an AED in the workplace can enhance the public perception of an organization and its commitment to safety. Customers, clients, and visitors will have peace of mind knowing that the workplace is equipped to handle emergencies effectively.
Additionally, having an AED can positively impact employee morale and job satisfaction. Knowing that their employer values their well-being and has taken steps to ensure their safety can boost employee loyalty and productivity.
The Best Spots to Place AEDs in the Workplace
Strategic AED placement is essential to ensure quick access in an emergency. As mentioned, every minute counts, so AEDs should be easily accessible to those in need, taking no longer than 90 seconds in each direction to obtain one. Since the layout of each facility is different, placing AEDs following the “90-second rule” is much more practical than figuring out regulations along the lines of placement every “x” amount of feet, etc.
AEDs must also be placed in dedicated lockboxes, which are easily accessible and bear clear and precise markings as to what they contain inside. Experience has shown that certain areas of a workplace feature a somewhat higher risk of cardiac arrest, so AEDs should primarily be accessible in:
- Cafeterias and food courts
- Employee gym and recreation facilities
- Break rooms
- Customer service areas
Additional locations may include a security guard station or a main reception area, where you can place the AED next to a first aid cabinet. Hallways and elevators are among the best places for an AED, especially if you work in a large establishment with many offices on the floor.
Cost Considerations of AED Placement
While the cost of purchasing and maintaining AEDs may concern some employers, it is essential to weigh this against the potential benefits and lives saved. The cost of an AED can vary depending on the model and features, but there are still enough options available to fit different budgets.
In addition to the initial investment, employers should consider the cost of training employees, conducting regular maintenance, and replacing disposable components such as electrode pads and batteries. Some organizations may also explore leasing options as a more cost-effective solution.
Regular Maintenance and Support
Once an AED program is implemented in the workplace, it is crucial to establish a system for ongoing maintenance and support. This includes regular inspections, replacing expired components, and keeping track of training certifications.
From a technical standpoint, AEDs must receive regular and proper inspection, service, and maintenance to ensure they operate correctly. The supplier and the AED’s written instructions provide information on maintaining the device, which can vary by manufacturer. A rule of thumb is that once the unit gets used, service is always required as soon as possible before marking it as operational again.
AEDs should be checked regularly to ensure they are in working order, and expired components like batteries and pads should be replaced. All units should also be registered with the manufacturer to receive scheduled updates and recalls.
Employers should designate a responsible individual or team to oversee the AED program and ensure compliance with regulations and guidelines. As an employer, you should aim to establish relationships with local emergency medical services and seek their guidance and support in maintaining the AED program.
The benefits of AEDs in the workplace are clear. What are the benefits of AEDs in the workplace again? A rapid response, ease of use, legal compliance, improved company image, and the ability to save the lives of people experiencing a cardiac crisis. All these benefits make AEDs an essential component of workplace safety. By investing in AEDs, maintaining them, and providing training, employers can create safer environments and positively impact their employees, visitors, and communities.
Being prepared for cardiac emergencies is a legal obligation and a moral responsibility that can make a significant difference in saving lives. So, do not wait any longer to get certified individually, or book a training session for your employees by signing up for any of our different CPR Certification Courses now!