February is American Heart Month and this is the time we can learn and raise
awareness for self-care for heart health. From eating right to staying active, there are plenty of ways you can show your heart you care. However, when it comes to the workplace there are two ways to show your employees that you care about their hearts as well; training them in CPR and having automated defibrillators (AEDs) easily accessible. Immediate CPR can help the chances of survival, however, conducting both CPR and using the AED can double or triple the chances of survival. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, time is limited and typically you have to wait for medical services. This is why conducting CPR and using the AED right away can save a life. The AED is also lightweight, portable, battery-operated, safe, and easy to use therefore many employees can be trained. Additionally, a heart rhythm in ventricular fibrillation may only be restored to normal by an electric shock.
Here are a few success stories published by the American Heart Association on AEDs in the workplace:
A 41-year-old worker at a manufacturer of heating and air-conditioning systems suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at work. After three shocks and CPR, he was revived within 4 minutes. Fortunately, his company had AEDs and trained responders. By the time EMS personnel arrived, he had been resuscitated and was moved to a hospital. The employee survived.
A 62-year-old employee of a coatings, glass, and chemical manufacturer suffered a 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 2 minutes. EMS personnel then arrived to transport her to the hospital. She sent a note to the company after her discharge from the hospital saying she had "no doubt that headquarters spent money wisely."
An employee at an automobile manufacturer was working on the production line when he suddenly collapsed, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing. Plant security responded, and after two shocks with an AED, the employee's heart responded and his pulse returned. He's alive today thanks to the fast actions of his co-workers and the company's emergency response plan, which included AED installation and training.
NIOSH also tells a success story relating to a workplace accident:
While standing on a fire escape during a building renovation, a 30-year-old construction worker was holding a metal pipe with both hands. The pipe contacted a high voltage line, and the worker instantly collapsed. About 4 minutes later, a rescue squad arrived and began CPR. Within 6 minutes the squad had defibrillated the worker. His heartbeat returned to normal and he was transported to a hospital. The worker regained consciousness and was discharged from the hospital within 2 weeks.
Installing an AED in your workplace along with training employees on its use and CPR is one of the simplest ways to take a proactive approach to employee heart health. This easy decision could potentially save lives.