Any workplace would be deemed massively irresponsible if it didn’t invest in certain items to protect its staff members and keep them safe from harm. These include fire extinguishers, fire blankets and first aid kits. All are incredibly important, but there is often one item that’s just as important (if not more) left off the list: an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
Regulation of Defibrillators
In 2016, for every one million people in the UK, there were 5.5 fire-related fatalities. This low number is mostly thanks to the preventative measures that are required throughout the UK, such as smoke alarms and extinguishers. There are, quite rightly, many requirements when it comes to fire-safety equipment in the workplace.
Now, let’s consider that there are 30,000 out-of- hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCAs) in the UK each year. This means that 100 people a week suffer SCAs in the workplace. There is currently little regulation surrounding AEDs, and many business owners are ignorant of the life-saving benefits of purchasing one.
What is an AED?
When someone suffers an SCA, the electrical rhythm that controls their heart changes to a chaotic electrical rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF can only be treated by an AED – AEDs work by shocking the heart back into its natural rhythm.
AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) are portable and compact, and the greatest care has been made to ensure they are easy to use by everyone. Their instructions are so straightforward that even a person who has never seen an AED before can use one.
Sudden Cardiac Arrests
A sudden cardiac arrest doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone of any age or fitness level, at any time. Once VF happens, the heart stops beating and blood cannot be pumped around the body. This means that vital organs stop receiving oxygen and begin to shut down.
Survival rates of SCAs are very low – without immediate treatment, a massive 90 to 95% of SCA victims will not survive. For optimum survival rates, a person suffering from an SCA needs a shock from a defibrillator.
Are SCAs Really Something We Have to Worry About in the Workplace?
Yes. A shocking 13% of workplace fatalities are due to someone suffering from SCA, which just shows how important it is to have a defibrillator in the workplace.
The are certain things that increase the risk of your staff members suffering from SCA at work, as well as other things that cause delays in ambulance arrival times, including the following:
- Working with high-voltage equipment
- Working at height
- An ageing workforce
- Hard-to-access urban locations
- Workplaces with strict security systems or large land masses
Consider the Risks
Business owners and HR managers need to understand the risks. When it comes to SCAs, the severity of the potential risk is incredibly high.
When someone suffers an SCA, each minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chance of survival by 7 to 10%. For optimal survival rates, a person suffering from an SCA must have access to an AED within 4 to 6 minutes. Considering the fact that the emergency services’ average response time to a person suffering from SCA in an urban area has increased from 8 minutes to 11 minutes, there is no time to lose.
For the cost of a new computer or a round of drinks at the office party, you could purchase a device that can, quite literally, be the difference between life and death.