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Creating an Effective Workplace AED Plan

Published on 19th May 2023

Safeguard your workplace against the dangers of SCA with an effective AED placement plan.

Creating an Effective Workplace AED Plan: Safeguarding Employees Against SCA

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening emergency in any workplace, posing significant risks to employees’ health and well-being. As a responsible business, it is crucial to have a well-defined plan in place to safeguard employees against the dangers of SCA. 

This guide will provide detailed instructions on creating a workplace AED plan, including insights into SCA and the associated dangers. 

We will also outline the steps to take in the event of an employee experiencing SCA to improve their chances of survival.

Understanding Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops functioning due to an electrical disturbance, leading to a loss of blood flow to vital organs. It is a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate intervention. In the UK, SCA claims the lives of approximately 60,000 people each year, making it a significant health concern.

The Associated Danger

SCA can strike anyone, regardless of age or pre-existing health conditions. The chances of survival decrease rapidly without prompt treatment. Immediate access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and early defibrillation significantly improve survival rates. Using an AED within the first few minutes of an SCA increases the chance of survival by up to 70% (British Heart Foundation).

Creating a Workplace AED Plan;

  1. Conducting a Risk Assessment: Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of your workplace to identify potential triggers for SCA. Consider factors such as employee age, medical history, stress levels, physical exertion, and exposure to hazardous substances. This assessment will help you understand the specific risks within your workplace and tailor your AED plan accordingly.
  2. AED Placement: Strategically place AEDs throughout your workplace to ensure quick accessibility. Follow the guidelines provided by the British Heart Foundation, which recommend having an AED within a 3-minute radius from any point in the workplace. Consider high-traffic areas, remote locations, and areas with higher cardiac risk, such as gyms or areas with chemical exposure.
  3. AED Maintenance and Regular Checks: Regularly inspect and maintain your AEDs to ensure they are in optimal working condition. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery replacement, electrode pad expiration, and overall device functionality. Designate responsible individuals or a team to conduct routine checks and keep track of maintenance schedules.
  4. Employee Training: Provide comprehensive training to designated employees on recognising SCA’s signs and symptoms, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and effectively using the AED. Offer certified training programs that align with current guidelines and regulations, such as those provided by the Resuscitation Council UK. Encourage broader CPR and AED certification among the workforce to empower employees to respond confidently and competently in emergencies.
  5. Emergency Response Plan: Develop a detailed emergency response plan that outlines the steps to take in the event of an employee experiencing SCA. Include the following elements in your plan:

a. Activating Emergency Medical Services (EMS): Clearly define who is responsible for calling emergency services, providing them with the necessary information, and ensuring their prompt arrival. Designate specific individuals to initiate the EMS call and ensure their contact information is readily available.

b. Immediate Response: Train employees to assess the situation quickly and act accordingly. Instruct them to check for responsiveness, call for help, and initiate CPR immediately while awaiting the arrival of trained medical professionals. Encourage employees to promptly report any signs of distress or symptoms that may indicate a potential cardiac emergency.

c. AED Usage: Provide detailed instructions on AED usage, including how to retrieve the device, apply electrode pads, operate the AED, and follow voice prompts. Emphasise the importance of early defibrillation and how it significantly improves the chances of survival.

d. Employee Communication: Establish a clear communication chain to inform management, co-workers, and the affected employee’s family about the incident and ongoing response efforts. Ensure efficient internal communication to disseminate accurate and timely information.

e. Post-Event Support: Address the psychological impact of an SCA event on the workplace and offer support and counselling services to affected employees. Ensure employees are aware of available resources, such as employee assistance programs or counselling options, to aid in their recovery and well-being.

6. Regular Drills and Plan Evaluation: Conduct regular drills and simulations to familiarise employees with the emergency response plan and AED operation. Simulate scenarios, including location variations or potential complications, to provide realistic training experiences. Evaluate the outcomes of drills and make necessary adjustments to address any identified gaps or areas for improvement.

7. Ongoing Awareness and Training: Maintain a continuous awareness campaign to educate employees about SCA, its risks, and the importance of early intervention. Offer periodic refresher courses on CPR and AED usage to ensure employees are up-to-date with life-saving techniques. Encourage a culture of safety and empower employees to take an active role in their health and well-being.

Lifeline AED Range;

The Martek range of AEDs is ideal for the workplace, providing optimal employee protection. The Lifeline range has won awards for being easy to use and having improved functionality, as they have been independently verified to be some of the simplest on the market.

You can buy or rent a Lifeline defibrillator with expert guidance to help you choose the right model. Additionally, specific packages are designed for schools, offices, and transportation.

Should you have any questions regarding AEDs, training or associated equipment, don’t hesitate to contact one of the Martek Lifecare team directly at 01709 599 222.