An AED is a device that shocks a casualty to restore the normal pumping of the heart to restart the blood circulation. It works by interpreting the heartbeat and automatically sending an electric shock, but it will not deliver it unless it can detect the presence of a heart rhythm. There is no explicit legal requirement to provide defibrillators in the workplace, but the British Heart Foundation and the Resuscitation Council UK advocate their provision. Generally speaking, if your first aid needs assessment indicates that the likelihood of cardiac arrest in your workplace is high, you should provide a defibrillator.
8 Top Tips for Managing Defibrillator Use
- Review your policies to ensure you have clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of personnel who oversee and use AEDs.
- Ensure your employees know that there is an AED present, where it is and what it is for.
- An AED can be used safely and effectively without previous training. However, training should be provided to improve the time to shock delivery and correct pad placement and to demonstrate compliance with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
- In terms of location, the AED is best positioned in public areas. If there is a significant risk of theft or vandalism, any measures you put into place must be accompanied by reliable arrangements to minimise the delay in obtaining access when needed.
- Whenever the AED is deployed, ensure you undertake a detailed investigation and review as part of the company’s health and safety management system.
- Ensure that the device, as with all other first aid equipment you provide, is properly maintained under PUWER. Failure to maintain an AED unit and its disposable parts, such as batteries and pads, can result in the equipment malfunctioning at the critical moment of deployment.
- The use of an AED, especially in the case of a fatality, can result in the operator suffering psychological distress and you should consider implementing post-incident counselling.
- If you intend to use the equipment on non-employees, check your insurance company will indemnify you.
A person who has had a cardiac arrest will die if they don’t receive emergency treatment. Seconds count, and using a defibrillator will increase their chance of survival.
Contact us if you wish to purchase a defibrillator and update company procedures.