Be Prepared for Sudden Cardiac Arrest at work

Posted: September 16, 2013

Take Time to Evaluate Workplace Safety Measures

By John EhingerTell It To Al – September 16, 2013— Most Americans spend more than half of their waking hours at work, making employee safety a crucial component of corporate culture. Now that September is here, and employees are returning to work after summer vacations, it is a perfect time to consider whether your business is prepared to protect its employees from one of the most life-threatening risks: Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Swift and Deadly

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (or SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 300,000 Americans each year. Although these numbers are shocking, the threat and impact of SCA is often overlooked when creating a business’ risk management protocols.

Striking without warning, SCA can take the life of anyone, at anytime, anywhere. Equally, with the odds of survival dropping 10% each minute that elapses, SCA is a particularly rapid killer. These factors make it critical for businesses to implement SCA emergency response programs as key tools to ensure employees feel protected on the job.

The following are a few of the key elements for addressing SCA risk in the workplace:

Evaluate Current Workplace Safety Measures and Plans. Determine if your organization has the appropriate planning, technology, communications, and training in place to combat SCA.

Ensure Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are Strategically Located Around the Workplace. It is important to position AEDs where they can be easily accessed in order to provide a response in minutes of an event.

Implement a Formal SCA Response Program. Communicate to employees the importance of understanding how to react in an SCA emergency and set up training programs for staff in CPR and the use of AEDs.

So Easy, the Intern Can Do It

Encouragingly, statistics show that employing an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) within the first three minutes of an SCA emergency can increase a victim’s survival rate from 8 percent to more than 70 percent. But it is important to note that a defibrillator alone cannot save a life; it is the people who use the AED who ultimately will save lives – meaning that having the devices in place is only the first step.

While straightforward, SCA response programs are not “one size fits all” – they should be uniquely tailored to the specific circumstances of each individual organization. Once you have assessed your business’ needs and determined the locations where you should place your AEDs, it is an important aspect of a successful SCA emergency plan that all devices are visible, easily accessible, and that employees are well-informed of their exact locations. Additionally, the devices should be routinely checked to confirm that they are working properly and will be ready for use if and when an SCA emergency strikes.

Whether managed in-house or by leveraging the expertise of a reputable third party, AED installation, training and maintenance is an affordable and highly pragmatic solution. With the implementation of a company-specific emergency response program, employees can and will feel confident in their ability to use an AED properly and react quickly in the event of an emergency.

Protecting Your Employees and Your Brand

Having AEDs in place and being prepared for SCA emergencies in the workplace is not only essential to the protection of employees, but it is also a smart business decision. Why?

It proves an organization’s commitment to its people. Addressing SCA in the workplace not only assures employees that they are protected from 9 to 5, but it makes a clear statement about the value that you place on their wellbeing.

SCA preparedness aligns perfectly with Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Social responsibility is a matter of increasing importance not only to companies themselves, but also their employees, investors and customers. A safe and secure work environment is certainly a cornerstone of social responsibility; it also enables the company to act as a leader setting a positive example in the communities in which it operates.

When employees feel valued, morale is boosted – increasing productivity and job satisfaction. Employees who feel respected and appreciated in the workplace are more likely to produce quality work and go the extra mile. What better way to show respect for your employees than to proactively protect their health?

The alternative is catastrophe. Any loss of human life is tragic, and death in the workplace has an immediate and lasting impact on an organization – adversely affecting the company on many levels ranging from the emotional and psychological to the financial.

Companies that place a premium on protecting their employees foster a workplace where employees will, in turn, protect the company – priming the organization for operational and cultural success.

A Final To-Do

As autumn rolls in, so too will longer days in the office as workers re-focus on projects, paperwork and deadlines, many of which were delayed by summer absences. So, as you gear up for the busy season ahead, take this moment to consider if your employees are truly protected at work.

Creating and executing a plan to install and maintain an effective AED program in the workplace, including providing appropriate training and communications gives companies the peace of mind that if and when an SCA emergency occurs, they are equipped with the first line of defense – a workforce prepared to take action and, ultimately, help save a colleague’s life.

After all, caring for your most valuable asset – your people – is vastly important to your business.