Maintain AEDs to be prepared for workplace emergencies, cardiac arrests

In the event of a worker experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), employees trained and licensed to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) may need to operate this life-saving equipment. As a device meant to deliver a shock to the heart and help restore a regular heart rhythm, AED could save workers’ lives. To prepare workplaces for medical emergencies such as these, employers may want to make sure their AEDs are working properly through performing regular inspections, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) magazine reported.

A person suffering from SCA may die within minutes, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. For each minute someone experiences SCA, he or she 10% less likely to survive.

Since a rapid response to SCA using an AED may help save lives, it is important for employers to keep an adequate number of AEDs on the premises and maintain these devices. Employers that fail to maintain their AEDs may be liable for lawsuits, according to Richard Lazar, founder and president of Readiness Systems and an expert in AED program operations and risk management.

“Your organization can be sued if your AED is not regularly inspected and maintained and it leads to a bad outcome for an SCA victim,” said Lazar, according to OHS magazine.

Maintain AEDs to improve worker safety
To ensure their AEDs are working correctly, employers may want to check the devices’ status indicators. OHS magazine suggests employers train workers on how to read AED warning signs. Located at the top of the device, the indicator will show a red icon if it detects problems. One issue to look out for is faulty internal circuitry, which will need immediate attention.

Another major issue employers may want to be cognizant of is making sure the batteries in the AED are charged. Employers may want to check the use-by or install-by date on the battery to make sure it is fully functional when needed.

Workers who are expected to operate AEDs also may want to be trained on how to use CPR to perform on others in case of an emergency, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

“An AED operator must know how to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, when to activate the EMS system, and how to do CPR,” the AHA said. “It’s also important for operators to receive formal training on the AED model they will use so that they become familiar with the device and are able to successfully operate it in an emergency.”

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