Automated External Defibrillators in the Workplace

| Jim Lanz

Automated External Defibrillators Save Lives

Automated External Defibrillators in the Workplace

Cardiac arrest and other life-threatening emergencies can happen anywhere—even in the workplace. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), automated external defibrillators (AED) are important, life-saving technology and play a pivotal role in treating workplace cardiac arrest. Giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an AED can greatly increase the victim’s chance of survival. Below are some statistics from OSHA:

  • There are approximately 220,000 victims of sudden heart failure each year in the U.S.
  • About 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur in the workplace
  • Waiting for the local emergency response team yields only a 5 to 7% survival rate

Increase Survival Rates

Studies with immediate defibrillation have shown up to 60% survival one year after sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when ventricular fibrillation takes place or when the heart stops beating altogether. Without medical attention, the victim collapses, loses consciousness, becomes unresponsive and dies. Many victims have no prior history of heart disease and are stricken without warning. Automated external defibrillators are designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to victims, restoring normal heart rhythm.

Causes of sudden cardiac arrest:

  • Heart attack
  • Electrocution
  • Asphyxiation (loss of consciousness and death caused by inadequate oxygen, such as in a confined space)

Reasons for AEDs in the workplace:

  • Workers may suffer sudden cardiac arrest while on the job
  • On-site AEDs save precious treatment time and can improve survival odds because they can be used before emergency medical service (EMS) personnel arrive
  • A heart rhythm in ventricular fibrillation may only be restored to normal via electric shock
  • The AED is compact, lightweight, portable, battery-operated, safe and easy to use

Automated External Defibrillator Training

I provide AED training for our customers across New York and New England and that safety training includes:
  • Recognizing sudden cardiac arrest and notifying EMS personnel
  • Performing CPR
  • Providing early defibrillation with an AED
  • Caring for the victim until EMS personnel arrive

Achieving AED Success

A single success story brings home the importance of an AED program in the workplace:
“A 62-year-old employee of a coatings, glass and chemical manufacturer suffered sudden cardiac arrest after walking up the stairs to her office. Employees in the next office heard her fall and notified the plant emergency response team. She was defibrillated and saved in less than two minutes. EMS personnel then arrived to transport her to the hospital. She sent a note to the company after her discharge saying she had ‘no doubt that headquarters spent money wisely." 

Horizon Solutions is an authorized distributor of the full line of ZOLL AEDs.

For more information about how we can help you facilitate a solution to achieve a safer and more productive workplace, contact a Horizon Solutions Safety Specialist today.