Mandatory AED Training
Health and safety in the workplace should be a key area of concern for every employer, and there is of course a legal responsibility to ensure that the environment is as safe as possible for all employees.
You should always watch out for new rules being introduced relating to health and safety, and a recent announcement by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) now requires all first aid training providers to include automated external defibrillator (AED) training on all courses relating to first aid at work. The requirement for this began on 1 January 2017, so it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with some of the background and reasons why.
An AED is a portable device used to check heart rhythm. In the event of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), when the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly, an AED can restore a normal heart rhythm by electrically shocking the organ.
Why has this mandatory AED training been introduced?
Guidelines from the Resuscitation Council UK require that dealing with a person who requires CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation – via the use of an AED must be included in first aid training. This training should be added to your Emergency First Aid and First Aid at Work syllabus as evidence shows that the use of an AED in the early stages of cardiac arrest often means a considerably better outcome for the casualty compared to delaying the intervention.
As an employer, you don’t necessarily have to buy a defibrillator for the workplace. It will depend on your workplace needs assessment. Existing first aiders can be updated with the skill of using an AED when they requalify so you don’t necessarily need to retrain them.
The importance of having an AED in your workplace
Understandably, you will want to consider the cost of an AED machine for your workplace if your needs assessment suggests you should have one. You need to consider your key employees and what affect losing one of them to sudden cardiac arrest could have on your staff. There will be time and money implications in finding a replacement, the possible loss of productivity and the knowledge that if an AED with a trained user on the premises had been available, an employee’s life, or even your own, could have been saved.
Some useful statistics
SCA is responsible for 13% of workplace fatalities and can strike men and women of any age anytime and anywhere. Around 100 people a week in the UK suffer SCA in the workplace – that’s 5% of all such events in the country. Your chances of surviving without rapid defibrillation are diminished by 10% every minute and you’re unlikely to survive if there is no intervention after 10 minutes. It makes sense to have an AED and trained operator available at all times, however, untrained personnel can use one in an emergency.
Prepare your workplace
An ageing workforce in an industrial company, a site with high voltage equipment and remote work locations emergency services may take some time to reach, are places where having an AED could save a life.