Q&A - Sudden cardiac arrest

March 1, 2004
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QUESTION:

Why should industrial workplaces invest in automated external defibrillators (AED) equipment, training and procedures? In many heavy industry workplaces, machinery, chemicals and lifting hazards are considered greater risks than sudden cardiac arrest.

ANSWERS:

Cardiac arrest is often under-reported in the workplace. Other, apparently unrelated, incidents can lead to cardiac arrest and not be recognized as the cause. With many other hazards in a workplace, the employer can identify at-risk activities and put safety plans in place to minimize exposure. Sudden cardiac arrest strikes without warning. For every minute that passes without defibrillation, a victim’s chance of survival decreases by seven to ten percent. Having employees trained to respond to an emergency with CPR and an AED within three to five minutes can positively affect the survival of your greatest asset — your employees.

Robin M. McCune, Director, National Accounts, Emergency Cardiovascular Care Programs (CPR, AED and First Aid Training), American Heart Association


Industrial workplaces should invest in AEDs because:

  • They save lives (Clinical studies involving immediate defibrillation have shown up to 60 percent survival one year after sudden cardiac arrest.);
  • OSHA strongly encourages AEDs in the workplace;
  • Every emergency response plan should include sudden cardiac arrest; and
  • The cost of an AED program relative to other safety programs is surprisingly small.

Equally important, workplaces should invest in equipment and training that includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Research shows that performing CPR before defibrillation can improve the outcome for victims in ventricular fibrillation (VF), an arrhythmia that primarily causes sudden cardiac death.

Hank Constantine, Marketing Director, Public Access, ZOLL Medical Corporation


These days, every responsible industrial facility has an emergency response team trained and available to rush to the aid of ill or injured employees. An emergency response team without an AED is like a mechanic without tools — they have the know-how to save a victim of cardiac arrest, but lack crucial equipment.

The numbers make the need for an AED in every workplace obvious: Before AEDs, 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims died. When AEDs are immediately available and used within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, more than 75 percent survive!

Bobby Sanchez, National Marketing Manager, Cintas First Aid & Safety


CPR and defibrillator training is one of the most important investments industrial companies can make to protect their employees. If an employee suffers cardiac arrest as a result of an industrial accident, stress or personal health reasons, immediate access to early CPR and defibrillation means the difference between life and death. Being prepared for the unexpected — whether it’s ensuring access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) or creating a workplace disaster plan — demonstrates a company’s commitment to a safe working environment. Currently, the average price for a single AED unit is about $3,000 — a small price to pay to save a life.

Sandy Lovett, Senior AED Associate, American Red Cross


Like a well-stocked first-aid kit correctly used by a trained provider, the proper, immediate use of an AED in the workplace can be lifesaving. In fact, industry might be where AEDs are most needed. According to NIOSH, jobs with shift work, high stress, heavy lifting, and exposure to certain chemicals and electrical hazards increase the risks of heart attack and cardiac arrest. Adding an AED to an emergency response plan sends a clear message to employees that the company cares.

Jake Keiser, Director of Marketing, American Safety & Health Institute

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