Automated External Defibrillators in the Workplace

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) significantly improve survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest victims. AEDs are easy to use and inexpensive, with the cost for a unit starting around $1,200. They are an important consideration to protect your employees and your customers. Commercial properties, health clubs, restaurants, and retail establishments are especially likely to see sudden cardiac arrest cases in customers. AEDs are also an important consideration for the office, job site, or manufacturing area to protect employees.

OSHA estimates that there are 890 deaths due to cardiac arrest outside of hospitals each day. CPR can buy time but often will not result in resuscitation. The chances of survival diminish by 7% to 10% for each minute that passes after the onset of cardiac arrest. Studies indicate that survival rates rise to the 50% to 60% range when a shock from an AED is administered within three to five minutes.

AEDs are extremely easy to use. The devices provide verbal instructions for the user throughout the process. Manufacturers typically provide a DVD for training along with printed instructional material. It is certainly recommended that at least some employees receive formal training, but the devices are designed to be operated without prior experience.

The cost of AEDs has fallen over the years, so that a quality machine can be purchased in the $1,200 to $1,500 range. The units self-test daily and provide a verbal/visual warning if the batteries are low or the pads obsolete. Batteries typically last for five years and can be replaced when used up.

Most states have passed legislation providing certain legal immunity to AED operators in order to encourage their use. For example, the Massachusetts “Good Samaritan Law” states that a person who “attempts to render emergency care including, but not limited to, cardiopulmonary resuscitation or defibrillation, and does so without compensation, shall not be liable for acts or omissions” (MGL —Chapter 112, Section 12V). A number of states require that certain businesses, such as health clubs, have at least one AED on site.

AEDs are proven life savers, affordable and easy to use. Installing them in the workplace and encouraging CPR training demonstrate a strong commitment to employee and customer welfare. We recommend that you consider adding AEDs to your workplace.

The following websites provide additional information about AEDs:

At Cleary, we will evaluate your business exposures and work with you to develop a comprehensive plan to safeguard your business. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700.