According to Facilities Net, 340,000 American lives are claimed by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) every year. These events can happen at any time and at any place, including the workplace. And, when it’s literally a matter of life and death, acting quickly can be the difference between saving a colleague or losing one.
This is why it is crucial for owners and managers to provide employees with the necessary training and knowledge should an emergency strike. By putting measures in place, a facility owner or manager can minimize damage by restoring calm and order across the facility. So the pertinent question becomes: “Will my workforce know how to react should a co-worker suffer a sudden cardiac arrest?”.
This blog post will give a step-by-step account of what needs to be done during a potentially life-threatening cardiac situation:
Steps that could save a life
If an employee experiences chest pains or collapses, it’s important to act swiftly and remain calm. Courtesy of the American Heart Association, the following steps will arm facility managers and their employees with the information needed to assess, prepare, and administer treatment to a colleague in cardiac arrest:
- Check the victim’s respiration to ensure their airways are clear and they’re able to breathe.
- Once you’ve assessed the severity of the situation, assign a specific person to call 911 and ensure the trained medical professionals are en-route and aware of the details of the emergency.
- If the victim is unable to breath, administer CPR right away.
- While CPR is being performed, locate the nearest Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and have it brought to the scene.
How to use an AED
CPR should not be interrupted, so either swap out with a co-worker or have somebody else locate and bring the AED to the victim as quickly as possible. Once it’s on-site, follow these steps from the American Red Cross and EMS Safety Services:
- Put the AED close to the victim’s head and turn the power on, following the visual or audio cues to set the model up.
- Open the victim’s shirt and make sure their chest is dry and free of any medical patches or bandages.
- Attach the AED pads like so:
- Apply one below the collarbone, on the right side of the patient’s chest
- Place the second pad on the lower left side of the chest
- Ensure that both pads are connected to the AED
- Stand clear of the victim and ensure that nobody is touching them. If needed, press the “analyze” button for the AED to evaluate the heartbeat.
- If the recommendation is to shock, tell co-workers to “stand clear” and make sure no one is touching the victim’s skin or clothing.
- When prompted, press the shock button.
AED locations and training
Victims who receive CPR and AED support within three minutes of sudden cardiac arrest have a 74% survival rate. Two minutes longer sees the survival rate fall by 40%. This is why it is so important to have an AED located in an accessible place in the facility, and not stored away in some obscure room that only a choice few know of.
Begin by working with a medical professional or manufacturer to assess your facility’s floor plan. Following this, they’ll determine how many AEDs are needed, where they should be placed, and the optimum number of emergency-trained staff. The general rule of thumb is to have a minimum number of four people trained for every AED, with a maximum of 10. The employees you pick for training should also make up the workforce segment that’s at the office or facility more than others. Lastly, emergency CPR and AED training should be periodic to refresh memories and upskill any new members of staff.
What to do after the AED has been deployed
Once things have begun to settle down and the victim is en-route to the nearest hospital, certain procedural steps need to be observed. Ensure that:
- Documentation of the event is completed no later than 24 hours after the fact.
- Grief counseling for all involved was/is addressed.
- ECG tracing in the AED is accessed and sent to the admitting hospital, if the event was successful.
- The AED is properly restored to full operational status and ready for immediate use if needed.
- That all required reports are completed and forwarded to the proper agencies.
For more post-event requirements, read this informative blog post — What Are the Next Steps After AED Use?
Implement an AED management program for staff wellbeing
To promote staff wellbeing and safety, facility managers should implement an AED program management solution to ensure their operations are compliant, properly supported at all times, and ready for emergency rescue.
The PlusTrac™ AED management program is an effective way to minimize risk in the event of a workplace emergency. This interactive web-based program makes it simple to keep your:
- AEDs inspected
- Consumables up to date
- Volunteer responders trained
- AEDs properly managed and ready for use
- All post-use details attended to
For peace of mind and workplace safety, register here to start your free PlusTrac™ AED management trial.