A guide to understanding what are the benefits of AEDs in the workplace. Sudden cardiac arrest, SCA for short, is a rapid loss of consciousness due to faulty cardiac mechanical activity. According to statistics, out of 3 million hospitalizations, nearly 34,000 involved a cardiac arrest diagnosis. With such staggering numbers, it’s no wonder that close to 220,000 people lose their lives to cardiac arrest each year.
SCA can happen to virtually everyone, no matter how healthy they feel or how old they are. The lack of effective treatment means sudden cardiac arrests can end lives in a matter of seconds, but with the right aid at hand and a quick reaction, someone’s life can be saved.
Sudden cardiac arrest is a grave medical emergency that can occur at any time, anywhere, and to anyone. Officials recommend employers boost their inventory with an AED, whether supplying a semi-automatic or a fully automated one.
Why Is an AED an Essential Part of Any Workspace?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is an essential medical equipment that should also be an integral part of the inventory at any workplace. This is also why it’s important to understand what are the benefits of AEDs in the workplace. Given the fact that the average response time in medical emergencies is ~11 minutes, having this piece of lifesaving gear at the workplace is paramount.
A lot can happen in 11 minutes, especially when SCAs are the focus of the emergency. A fellow employee can successfully use the AED to resuscitate a colleague or a guest in the workplace in a matter of a minute or two until the emergency team arrives and takes over.
AEDs are lightweight and compact machines that assess a person’s heart rhythm and detect irregularities in the heartbeat. An irregular heartbeat can either be categorized as ventricular tachycardia (VT), widely known as sudden cardiac arrest, or ventricular fibrillation (VF).
The original idea behind the design of AEDs was to serve professionals like paramedics, first responders, nurses, and doctors in resuscitation. However, things have changed nowadays, and now AEDs are safe (and recommended) to use by everyone. Furthermore, since there are different AED types, like public access and professional AEDs, every type of workplace is strongly suggested to have an AED on site.
Can an AED Save My Co-Worker From Suffering a Heart Attack?
As we mentioned, AEDs are the go-to option in case of cardiac arrest, which is different from a heart attack. Heart attacks occur due to an interruption of the blood flow to all parts of the body and the heart. In that case, you won’t need an AED but CPR instead.
So, if your co-worker loses consciousness due to cardiac arrest, you shouldn’t hesitate to use the AED in your office. Now, depending on the type of AED (semi-automatic or fully automatic), the device can perform without your intervention. If the AED you’re working with is automatic, it will carry out the method of shocking the person’s chest without you doing anything other than monitor the process.
On the other hand, if the automatic external defibrillator is semi-automatic, there would be a display prompting a message to push a button to shock the chest of the person in need. Nowadays, most workplaces and public spaces have automatic ADEs since they require little user interference and carry out the action automatically.
Benefits of AEDs in the Workplace
Even though there are no legal requirements for employers to have AEDs present on-site, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have included AEDs as part of the Good Samaritan laws, protecting bystanders and civilians from liability while using an AED as a life-saving treatment.
Despite not being legally required to purchase an AED for their work premises, workplace safety is a significant issue for a growing number of employers. Employers that are conscious enough of their employee’s health (and their own, for that matter) will have some type of AED available at all times. Even though AEDs are designed to be used by laypeople, it will be good for all employees to have some basic first-aid training. Seeing more responsible employers enroll their employees in a first-aid course is encouraging.
Some of the most common benefits of AEDs in the workplace include the following:
- On-site AEDs are time-efficient, can save valuable time, and increase the chances of survival;
- In the case of ventricular fibrillation, a bystander can help restore a victim’s irregular heart rhythm via an eclectic shock, like that delivered by an AED;
- AEDs are portable, lightweight, compact, battery-operated, and easy to use;
- Cutting-edge AEDs have a brake system that prevents shocking a person with a heartbeat;
- AEDs have an established track record of saving lives long enough until emergency teams arrive;
- While calling for help, AEDs can help determine whether the unconscious person has a heartbeat or not (in case the operator asks);
- Survival rates significantly improve if an AED is used within the first five to seven minutes of the SCA;
- AEDs are portable, so there’s no need for more than 1 device per premise;
- They are battery-operated, meaning no increase in the electrical bill;
- The Good Samaritan laws safeguard employers from liability in the case of AED use.
Where Can AEDs Be Used?
As we discussed, AEDs can be used practically everywhere — from schools to restaurants to grocery shops to boutiques to gyms. An important thing to remember is to act fast and not panic.
Medical professionals believe that people suffering a cardiac arrest in a public space have twice the chances of survival if a bystander steps in and helps by using a public access AED. In public spaces, as well as in the workplace, the designated area of an AED will usually be inside a color-labeled fiberglass box mounted on a wall, so everyone can see it and access it without obstruction.
AEDs for Businesses
The workspace is easily the place where the majority of us spend the most time. Other than yourself, the people who frequent the location can benefit from having an AED on-site. As we mentioned, sudden cardiac arrests occur without warning and can happen to anyone, which makes it difficult to tell when someone will suffer from one.
Having an AED in the workspace can save lives, make use of time until professionals arrive, and protect your business from liability under the Good Samaritan laws. In fact, AEDs make an excellent investment compared to the costs of a lawsuit if an employee goes into cardiac arrest and decides to sue their employer for not delivering first aid.
Since most modern AEDs are compact and lightweight, everyone at your workplace can operate the device. However, if you wish to go the extra mile and elevate your workplace preparedness to the next level, you can enroll your employees in a first aid class. Rest assured whatever SCA emergency occurs, the people on your team will know how to handle the matter until professionals arrive.
AEDs for At-Home Use
Think of at-home AEDs as your invisible insurance policy — you hope you never use it, but you’re glad you have it. As we mentioned, cardiac arrests can happen anywhere and to anyone, which is why the medical industry has developed a particular kind of AED to be easily operated by non-medical persons.
If a family member or a guest at your house falls into cardiac arrest, having an AED nearby can make all the difference to the survival of the patient. You can be prolonging the person’s life within seconds, at least until an emergency team arrives and takes over.
Conclusion: What Are the Benefits of AEDs in the Workplace
In today’s fast-paced world, it really isn’t surprising that more and more of us deal with stress one way or the other. It isn’t unknown that stress is the leading cause of cardiac illnesses, including sudden cardiac arrest, as the most prevalent heart condition nowadays.
Other than at home, we spend the majority of our time at the workplace so that everything can happen, both good and bad. Speaking of bad, SCAs can occur anywhere, the workplace included. In such a scenario, how do you react? What do you do? If there’s an automatic external defibrillator on-site, luck is on your side.
Thanks to AEDs in the workplace, a co-worker can help save your life when your heart’s mechanics malfunction. Even without proper training, AEDs can be handled by inexperienced non-professionals with little effort. The display on the device will prompt you when to act (if necessary) and guide you through every step that follows. This information should give you a better understanding of what are the benefits of AEDs in the workplace.