Why you should have an AED in the workplace

Be it a retail outlet, an office, a building site or any other public place, you will find fire safety measures in place such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets. This is a requirement stipulated by law. These measures help to prevent any damage to your property, assets, and also safeguard people in the case of a fire outbreak.

However, despite having several cases of sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) in the workplace every week, where the patient can die without immediate treatment, there is no legislation for businesses to install AEDs or Automated External Defibrillators at the workplace.

Let us take a look at what AEDs are and why it is very important to install these life-saving devices at your workplace.

What Is an AED and What Is It Used For?

An AED is a defibrillator that is used to deliver a shock to the heart if someone has suffered from a SCA. An SCA occurs if the cardiac rhythm of the person suddenly becomes erratic. This abnormal heart rhythm is known as ventricular fibrillation or VF. When the heart undergoes VF, if an electric shock is administered directly to the heart using an AED, the heart’s rhythm is reset and resumes its normal functioning.

In the case of a person suffering a SCA, every second counts and the sooner the patient receives defibrillation, the better the chances of survival. The attempt to resuscitate a patient using defibrillation along with CPR is the first line of treatment before medical help arrives.

Who Can Suffer an SCA?

Any person, irrespective of the age or fitness level can suffer from SCA anytime. SCA is caused by the abnormal heart rhythm which causes the heart to stop beating. And when this happens, blood cannot be pumped to the various organs in the body and the oxygen supply is cut off.

If a patient has had a SCA, if defibrillation along with CPR is not administered quickly, the survival rates of the patient becomes very low. In fact, 90-95% of people suffering from SCA will not survive without immediate defibrillation.

How to Use an AED?

An AED is compact, portable and very easy to operate and can be used by persons of any age, even without having any training. Typically, the AED will have step-by-step instructions with visual images to guide you on how to use it and deliver a shock to a person who has suffered a SCA. Some models of AEDs may also have voice prompts to guide you through the process.

Factors That Increase the Risk of SCA in the Workplace

The factors that increase the risk of SCA at the workplace include, an aged workforce, working in places with high voltage equipment, work areas that have an extensive land mass or strict security systems and urban locations.

AEDs are very important and can save lives if used immediately. With increasing cases of SCAs at the workplace, AEDs are not a luxury and they are slowly but surely becoming a necessity.