A recent study in the U.S.A. in 2017 has revealed that half of American workers have no idea where the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is kept at work. Australian employers should be aware of this study and ensure that their employees are better informed.

The Survey done by the American Heart Association found that workers in the services and hospitality sector were less likely to know where the AED was compare to employees in schools and educational establishments who were more likely to know the location of their workplace’s AED.

However the survey did not ask whether the workplace had an AED.

The solution is for employers is to invest in an AED and provide CPR and AED training to employees.

Following Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), for every minute that person goes without appropriate treatment, their chances of survival decrease by 10%.

Every second counts in this situation so AEDs must be very close and available to the person who has suffered the SCA.

An AED will diagnose whether the person has suffered an SCA and if appropriate, apply an electric shock to the heart to try to restore normal rhythm.

Alarming statistics in the USA show that each year:-

About 350,000 cardiac arrests take place in locations other than hospitals.

About 10,000 cardiac arrests happen in workplaces.

The main reasons why U.S. Employers did not invest in AEDs were the cost and fear of being sued however these concerns are misplaced.

Prices are coming down all the time due to improved technology. A typical AED will cost less than 2,000 U.S. Dollars.

In terms of legal liability if an AED is used improperly and someone is injured or killed, you are protected from being sued in most States.

It should be noted that AEDs have a built-in mechanism for analysing heart rhythms and will only administer an electric shock if a Sudden Cardiac Arrest is diagnosed.

AEDs must be maintained and the workplace owners should note that they need to also buy AED accessories and consumables. These include replacement AED batteries and sticky pads. Batteries should be replaced every 2 to 5 years and pads every 2 to 3 years.

Following this survey the American Heart Association launched a public awareness campaign to publicise the need for CPR and AED training.

The American Heart Association would like businesses to invest in an AED before an incident occurs rather than after and for them to think proactively about employees’ health just like they do for their businesses.